POWDERSMOKE RANGE. RKO Radio Pictures, 1936. Harry Carey (Tucson Smith), Hoot Gibson (Stony Brooke), ‘Boots’ Mallory, Guinn ‘Big Boy’ Williams (Lullaby Joslin), Bob Steele, Tom Tyler. Based on the novel by William Colt MacDonald. Director: Wallace Fox.

   Three roving cowboys (not yet called The Three Mesquiteers) come to the aid of a friend (Bob Steele) who’s been thrown in jail on trumped up charges. Tom Tyler is the fast gun hired by the gambler who’s trying to take over Steele’s ranch, and it’s eventually up to Harry Carey to face him down.

   In spite of what was probably an all-star cast in 1935, this is not a very good movie today. It has a lot of the right ingredients, but the art of acting has changed dramatically. I’m no expert on such things, but I think it’s the extra beat everybody takes to react to the line just before.

— Reprinted and very slightly revised from Movie.File.8, January 1990.