Brand of the Outlaws (1936)
The Old Western Brand
Gary Gray (Bob Steele) is just drifting through the area when he comes across the injured sheriff, getting him back to town before he lost too much blood from being shot. After moving on Gary finds himself innocently involved with some men who are wanted rustlers and being threatened by deputy sheriff Holt (Jack Rockwell) who brands Gary with a rustling iron to teach him a lesson. If being branded isn't bad enough Gary then finds himself accused of a killing but finds the Sheriff on his side as they both become suspicious of Holt actually being the ring leader of the rustlers.
If I was given a script now about an innocent cowboy who gets branded with a hot iron and set up for murder by a man who has been masquerading as a lawman I could envisage a gritty, dirty western. Unfortunately the script was used for the 1936 western "Brand of the Outlaws" a straight western from 1936 which aims for hard hitting but comes up short time again. Now in fairness "Brand of the Outlaws" is not the worst 1930s western I have come across but by trying to be violent it is now laughable.
The trouble with "Brand of the Outlaws" is that for the most it is not very interesting as good guy Gary Gray ends up walking into a hornet's nest of trouble when he gets embroiled in with ranching problems and crooked deputy sheriff. You know before it starts that Gary will inevitably face up to the bad guy during the final frames and somewhere along the lines he will end up winning the heart of a girl. It does try to be gritty, there is a scene where Gary gets a hot brand pressed into his bare chest, but unfortunately with Gary being the toughest man in the world who barely grimaces when hot metal hits skin you can't but help laugh. It is the same through out as big scenes now come across as laughable because of the presentation and acting.
What this all boils down to is that once more "Brand of the Outlaws" is an old western which will only really interest those with a fascination for old cinema and in particular old westerns.
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