THE RIDER OF THE LAW. Supreme Pictures, 1935. Bob Steele, Gertrude Messinger, Si Jenks, Lloyd Ingraham, John Elliott, Earl Dwire. Director: Robert N. Bradbury.

   Bob Steele was far from being one of the more handsome of the B-western heroes, but he sure made a lot of them before settling down into character parts (still mostly westerns) and ending up on television (and still mostly westerns).

   I don’t know why I always liked him as a cowboy hero, though, but as a kid I did, and I don’t even know what movies he was in that I might have watched. (I never watched F-Troop on TV, if that’s what you might be thinking.)

   I did not even recognize him at first in The Rider of the Law, and I hope I don’t spoil your surprise when you watch this movie the next time your order of DVDs comes in from Alpha Video, but I suspect you won’t either.

   SPOILER ALERT. He’s the bespectacled dude in big city clothes who comes to town with no gun and no idea of how to ride a horse. (He ends up facing backward.) There is a story that might be made of this as an interesting idea, but Law of the Rider isn’t it.

   I didn’t time it, but I think Si Jenks gets as much screen time as Bob Steele. As the bewhiskered old prospector who gets talked into becoming the town marshal when the previous one is shot up pretty badly when the Tollivers last came to town and robbing the bank in the process, Jenks is as lovable an old coot as they come, and funny, too.

   There are some other small surprises to come, but I have a feeling that at least one of the remaining plot twists was due to a certain ineptitude on the part of the script, rather than anything deliberate. They should have taken the good idea at the beginning and done more with it, but it’s far too late for any of the people responsible for this basically Grade D western to heed any advice from me.