Guilty Trails (1938)

Genres - Action, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western  |   Run Time - 57 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Directed by Universal hack George WaGGner (yes, he insisted on being billed this strange way), Guilty Trails was the fifth of 12 Bob Baker singing Westerns produced by Universal from 1937 to 1939. Baker played Bob Higgins, a lawman who hangs up his badge after shooting Dan Lawson (Forrest Taylor), the suspect in a bank robbery. He later takes a job on the Lazy D Ranch, where he falls in love with the new owner, Jackie (Marjorie Reynolds). The girl proves to be Dan Lawson's daughter and leaves him after learning of his true identity. Bob, meanwhile, has discovered that the real culprit of both the bank heist and old man Lawson's murder is none other than banker Brad Eason (Jack Rockwell) himself. Eason attempts to flee with his loot but is caught by Bob, who is reunited with Jackie. Although general purpose Western player Hal Taliaferro (formerly Wally Wales) made a surprisingly effective comic sidekick and Marjorie Reynolds a fetching heroine, Guilty Trails suffered from Baker's complete lack of charisma. Such songs as "The Song of the Trail," "There's a Ring Around the Moon," and "Give Me a Home on the Prairie" (all by regular Baker contributor Fleming Allan) did nothing to endear the star to his target audience, the small fry, and by 1939 he was reduced to playing second fiddle to Johnny Mack Brown. Guilty Trails was written by director WaGGner under the pseudonym of "Joseph West."



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