After having been gone for some time, a cowboy comes home to his ranch to find himself up against a gang involved in smuggling Chinese into the country.
Learning their is trouble on his ranch, Captain Casey receives leave to return. One of his hands has been murdered and investigating, he finds the man responsible. It turns out to be his foreman Karney who has been smuggling Chinese across the border. Karney escapes but he has made enemies among the Chinese and one of them is waiting for him.
Jack Perrin (Captain Casey), Betty Mack (Jane Elkins), Wally Wales (Dave Casey), Fred Toones (Snowflake), Ed Cassidy (Karney), Dennis Moore (Lieutenant Brooks), Robert Walker (Colton), Phil Dunham (Abner), Victor Wong (Lee Fin), and "Starlight".
Director: HARRY FRASER. Screenplay: Weston Edwards. Story: Monroe Talbot. Photography: Robert Cline. Film editor: Arthur A. Brooks. Music effects: Lee Zahler. Assistant director: William Nolte. Sound engineer: T. Triplett. Producer: William Berke.
Not copyrighted 1936 by William Berke Productions. A Berke Perrin Blue Ribbon Western, released by Atlantic Pictures: 19 February 1936. No New York opening. 59 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: An army captain comes to the rescue of his rancher brother when border smugglers shoot one of his men.
COMMENT: Why is Jack Perrin in the army in this one? So that the producer can introduce a whole segment of WW1 stock footage, that's why. With one exception, the rest of this movie is of like cut-price quality. Clichéd writing, broom-cupboard sets, hammy acting (though I must admit Ed Cassidy fooled me), an innocuous heroine, a few location snips with minimal action, drearily nondescript direction. Plus an extra-special raspberry for the repulsive racial slur so heartily perpetrated by Fred Toones.
As for the one exception referred to above: — close-out music, would you believe? Not that anyone would be left in the theater to enjoy it.
Still, cliché collectors will have a field day. Samples: "This is a fine how-do-you-do!" — "Dead men tell no tales." — "Forewarned is fore-armed." — "We'll put a stop to this once and for all. Round up all the men you can trust."
No wonder Jack Perrin's star not only waned but simply disappeared! Starting with stirring music -- maybe the best part of the movie -- by Lee Zahler, a terribly under-rated music director in Hollywood, "Hair-Trigger Casey" jumps right into action.
Jack Perrin and Snowflake (really a good actor, but usually cast in this cardboard characterization) and Dennis, sometimes Denny, Moore, who is billed as Denny Meadows, are introduced immediately, and you know this movie is gonna MOVE.
"You just get back from one war and start trainin' for another," are the prophetic words from Snowflake as the Harry L. Fraser story gets started on a topic that is still timely, 80 years later.
Besides a good story, there is an excellent cast. Phil Dunham as Abner is a stand-out, and Wally Wales, known here by his later name of Hal Taliaferro, shows he was not only a great cowboy, but an actor.
All up and down the cast list are familiar and admired performers, and I highly recommend "Hair-Trigger Casey," which can be found at YouTube. a5c7b9f00b
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