A Double Alias

Earl Dwire in Alias John Law (1935)

When Everett Tarkington 'John' Clark (Bob Steele) was young his father died and when his mum remarried he ended up leaving home as he didn't get on with his step-dad. But now he has learned of his step-father's death and he is coming home to collect his ma and head home. But on the way home with friend Bootch Collum (Buck Connors) they end up running in to injured lawman Marshal Lamar Blyth (Jack Rockwell) who has been on the trail of the Kootney gang lead by The Kootney Kid (Earl Dwire) and who asks his friend John to take his law badge and try and catch The Kootney Kid. What John doesn't know is that The Kootney Kid is trying to gain control of a ranch by masquerading as John as he has stole a letter sent to John which was to inform him he inherited it.

Having watched quite a few early westerns I have come across a few which use one character masquerading as another but never have I come across one where the bad guy is masquerading as the good guy unaware that the good guy is masquerading as someone else. This sort of double crossing element makes "Alias John Law" that little bit entertaining including how it all comes out when The Kid says he is John in the courtroom with John there but things not going exactly to plan.

The trouble is that whilst the storyline has some fun ideas for the most part "Alias John Law" just delivers the same old sort of scenes you would find in many a western from the 1930s especially those directed by Robert N. Bradbury. It means that "Alias John Law" ends up forgettable and a movie which despite its short running length you find yourself clock watching as it is devoid of anything really exciting.

What this all boils down to is that "Alias John Law" has a storyline with some good ideas but ends up a routine 1930s western although one which is quite devoid of soundtrack which makes it feel only a half finished movie.

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