BANDIT QUEEN. Lippert Pictures, 1950. Barbara Britton, Willard Parker, Phillip Reed, Barton MacLane, Martin Garralaga, Angelo Rossitto (as Angie). Director: William Berke.

   I know Barbara Britton almost exclusively for her role as Pam North in the Mr. & Mrs. North TV series on 1952-54, but she was in a long list of movies before that, most of which I have never seen. Champagne for Caesar is one exception, but to be honest, I don’t even remember her role in it.

   Those earlier movies included comedies, pirate movies, and surprisingly (to me) quite a few westerns. Her role in Bandit Queen, in other words, was not the anomaly I thought it was when I placed the DVD into the player and sat down to watch.

   She plays Zara Montalvo in this film, a young woman who comes to visit her parents in Spanish California around the time of the Gold Rush, only to watch a gang of ruthless outlaws murder them in front of her eyes for their land and money.

   Revenge being the order of the day as far as she is concerned, she is taught how to crack a whip by none other than the infamous rebel leader Joaquin Murietta, blandly played by Phillip Reed. She lives in a Spanish mission under the name Lola Belmont (from Detroit); he is incognito as Carlos Del Rio. Neither knows who the other is, but once Zara’s name becomes known as a Robin Hood-style bandit, he catches on more quickly than she does.

   A better-than-average Lippert film, but that’s a distinction that makes this no more than a run-of-the-mill western. Save for our daring heroine, the bad guys are by far the better actors. (Not more interesting, just better actors.) As for the story, there’s nothing more to it that I haven’t already alluded to.