Between Men is a strongly composed “B” directed by Robert North Bradbury (Courageous Avenger and several of John Wayne’s Lone Star Westerns). Bradbury was also the father of B-Western star Bob Steele, and his expertise in the genre is delightfully natural. Between Men has a strong cast in Johnny Mack Brown as the stalwart hero, and this may well be his best role. Beth Marion excels as the love interest, as does William Farnum in his scene-stealing role as Brown’s tormented father and Earl Dwire as the standard slimy villain.
Between Men has a richly melodramatic plot. Farnum (great wide- eyed acting) believes he has killed his young son (Brown) and flees west. Actually, the boy was only injured and is adopted by Lloyd Ingram. Twenty years pass and the visuals shift from the upper-scale Virginia countryside to the stark New Mexico desert as Brown embarks on a journey to find his adopted father’s long lost granddaughter (Marion). Farnum has assumed a new name and is now Marion’s guardian after his hired hand (Dwire) rustles her cattle, kills her father, and attempts to raper her. Marion is saved by a “drifter” whom Farnum hires for protection, not realizing that Brown is his son, whom he believes to be dead.
Time to dust off this collection of B-Westerns from Sinister Cinema’s Sinister Six-Gun Collection. The packaging is ultra-cool, starting off with those priceless trailers:
Trailer # 1: “Ride at Full Gallop into a Thundering Texas Romance to the rescue of a girl haunted by killers! Johnny Mack Brown as the fist-flashing GENTLEMAN FROM TEXAS” blazes across the screen as Johnny shoots and punches his way across bar tables. Add in beer bottles over the head, a pretty dame named Claudia Drake and the TrailsMen singing “Texas Jubilee” on banjos. It’s a “Violent Drama of Valorous Love and Texan Vengeance” from Monogram Pictures.
Trailer # 2 screams “It’s the Real McCoy” (as in Tim McCoy) “heading this way to tame the town that defied the law!” More fisticuffs, six-guns blazing, horses, good guys in white hats, and fallen bad guys in black hats (who never bleed) are all promised. “The Outlaw Deputy Tim McCoy made bad men check their guns while he checked up on romance! Cow-Town became a mad-house of Thundering Action when the nerviest outlaw East of the Rockies turns OUTLAW DEPUTY!” A Puritan Picture.
Trailer #3: ” Come Along Boys and Girls on a Thrilling Trip to MYSTERY MOUNTAIN where KEN MAYNARD the screen’s most popular Cowboy Actor and his famous horse TARZAN will ENTHRALL you! will THRILL you! will STARTLE you! in their 1st SUPER SERIAL! ACTION! ROMANCE! All the THRILLS of THE OLD WEST! Don’t miss seeing Ken Maynard and his horse Tarzan in MASCOT’S MIGHTY EPIC SERIAL MYSTERY MOUNTAIN! WATCH FOR IT!” This one has all the elements of the previous two, but throws in locomotives and a star horse.