Range Rider: Smoke Out (1924)

Genres - Western  |   Run Time - 22 min.  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Hans J. Wollstein

Smoke Out crams a lot of plot into its 20-minute or so running time, making it arguably the most interesting of the surviving Range Rider shorts. Leading man Leo Maloney, who also produced, co-wrote, and co-directed all series entries, certainly looks like a cowboy, albeit a well-fed one. Maloney was extremely busy all through the 1920s, producing and starring in an impressive number of inexpensive oaters. All of which, alas, have been dwarfed by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his early death in 1929. Having starred in and produced Overland Bound, the first independently made talking Western, Maloney traveled to New York in search of a distributor. Having celebrated a bit en route, the fatigued entrepreneur died of a massive heart attack in his hotel room and never witnessed his historical feat.