BILLY THE KID TRAPPED. PRC, 1942. Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Bud McTaggart, Anne Jeffreys, Glenn Strange, Walter McGrail, Ted Adams, Jack Ingram, Milton Kibbee. Director: Sam Newfield.

   Let me say right off from the start that any movie with Anne Jeffreys in it can’t be all bad, but this one comes very very close. If only they’d given her something to do. As the sister of the recently deceased sheriff of Mesa City (gun poisoning), all she is allowed to do is stand around and direct admiring eyes at young and handsome Billy the Kid (Buster Crabbe), hinting at a possible romantic liaison between the two, even perhaps after the movie’s end, but young and handsome Billy does not even seem to notice.

   And the 10 to 12 year old boys who would made up the large part of viewing audience back in 1942 would have yelled something fierce if he had.

   Not that there aren’t possibilities in the plot, which begins with Billy and his two pals on the road being rescued from jail by a benefactor unknown. Set to be hanged the next morning for a killing they did not do, the three saddlemates are grateful but puzzled.

   Turns out (and this comes out early in the story) that the three, Bill, Fuzzy and Jeff, have been impersonated by three outlaws dressed up as them, and if they were to be hanged, there would be no one to blame the three outlaws’ crimes on.

   After this masterful plot is revealed, the rest of the story is a pure yawner. Lots of men on horses riding here and there, holding up stagecoaches, fist fights in saloons, gunmen lurking behind stable doors, the whole works. Me, no longer 10 or 12 years old, I fell asleep.