The Carson City Kid
Western, Comedy, Action | 57 Mins. | Released: 1940
Director: Joseph Kane
Starring: Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Bob Steele, Noah Beery, Jr., Pauline Moore, Hal Taliaferro, Francis McDonald
Our Rating: 6
Black & White
The Carson City Kid (Roy Rogers) stops stagecoaches traveling between Wild West mining towns, searching their mail sacks for letters addressed to Morgan Reynolds, the man who killed his brother. Discovering that Reynolds operates a saloon under the name Lee Jessup (Bob Steele), the Kid takes a job as the saloon’s bouncer. While vying with Reynolds for the affections of singer Joby Madison (Pauline Moore), the Kid discovers a swindled miner (Noah Beery Jr.) who claims to be the Carson City Kid.
Roy Rogers (Roy Rogers, and not playing “himself” but playing a character named Roy Rogers), posing as The Carson City Kid, is seeking vengeance on Morgan Reynolds, the man who killed his brother. To find Reynolds in the gold towns, he systematically stops stagecoaches and goes through the mail, hoping to find letters addressed to Reynolds and thus learn his whereabouts. Thus “The Kid” earns the reputation of a stagecoach robber, although he never takes anything, and the reputation is enhanced by the fact that he travels with Laramie (Francis McDonald), a notorious half-breed outlaw. A posse is about to capture them and Roy rides back to get Laramie whose horse has been shot, and Laramie repays the favor by slugging Roy and escaping on his horse Trigger. The posse rides by the unseen Roy and captures Laramie and, since he is riding the “Kid’s” horse, take him to jail as being the “Kid.” Laramie denies this and is told he will be free when he identifies the “Kid”; otherwise he will hang. Roy rides into town, having deduced that the Morgan Reynolds he is looking for operates the Yellowback Saloon under the alias of “Lee Jessup” (Bob Steele) . As part of his plan to get evidence against Jessup, who also does not know his true identity, Roy takes a job as saloon shotgun guard, and meets saloon singer Joby Madison (Pauline Moore, in one of the truly great performances found in the B-western genre) and falls in love with her. This doesn’t set well with Jessup, as he has plans of his own regarding Joby. Young gold miner Scott Warren (Noah Beery, Jr.), having hit his strike and heading for home with his fortune, comes into the Yellowback, talks too much about his stake, and is soon relieved of it in a crooked poker game by Jessup and friends. Scott, realizing he had been cheated, breaks into Jessup’s office and, announcing he is the Carson City Kid, holds up Jessup henchman Harmon (Hal Taliaferro) and takes his gold and some letters and papers from the safe. Captured, he is taken before Laramie, who quickly identifies him as the “Kid” although he has never seen him before, in order to win the immunity promised him. Roy, masked as the Carson City Kid and speaking Spanish as the Kid did on the stage holdups, intervenes and at gunpoint, asks Jessup to identify what Scott has stolen from him. Besides the gold, Jessup unwittingly identifies as his own the letters and documents, which establish him as Morgan Reynolds. Reynolds meets justice and Roy is exonerated. ne fine little B-western with an excellent performance by George “Gabby” Hayes (as Sheriff Gabby Whittaker), before he had the character down as a sleep-walking exercise and was still revolving, and by, as mentioned, Pauline Moore, as a no-excuses heroine for being where she was doing what she did as a saloon entertainer.