Bulldog Courage (1935)
The Son of Braddock
Miner Slim Braddock (Tim McCoy) finds himself being cheated out of his mine by corrupt banker Williams (Karl Hackett) and so turns outlaw as 'The Phantom' robbing the stagecoach when ever it is carrying Williams' money. But in a confrontation Slim is fatally wounded and so his son Tim (Tim McCoy) takes over as Williams' nemesis. Tim's quest against Williams eventually leads him to the Brennan family who owe money to Williams and are about to pay it except Williams has his men rob the stage so they can't do it. But Tim isn't going to let Williams get away with this and comes to the Brennan's rescue.
As I watched "Bulldog Courage" I couldn't but help think of those swashbuckling movies such as "Zorro", "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "Robin Hood" not because they are visually similar but are in theme. I mean that it wasn't unusual for those swashbuckling movies featuring a bandit ending up with a son taking over the reigns in the fight against corrupt officials and that is what we have in "Bulldog Courage". It is an interesting idea as whilst I have watched many westerns which feature a son seeking justice I don't remember one becoming a son of a Robin Hood style character.
On the subject of "Robin Hood" the opening to "Bulldog Courage" clearly sets up the comparison when we see Slim Braddock holding up a stage but he only does so to take the money belonging to Williams and is in fact very kind and considerate to an elderly lady, in doing so establishing that he is in truth a nice guy. In typical fashion this is followed by a scene of establishing Williams as a bad guy, the sort of scene which if he twiddled a slick moustache it wouldn't have looked out of place. Basically what I am saying is that whilst "Bulldog Courage" uses an interesting premise much of what happens is regular as in when Tim Braddock comes to the aid of a family being swindled by Williams.
Aside from what ends up a familiar story with lots of cliches the acting is surprisingly reasonable. That probably doesn't sound much of a compliment but it is as whilst every actor delivers their dialogue in a forced manner it is by no means the cheesiest you will stumble across if you watch these old 1930s westerns. And whilst Tim McCoy appeared in some of the cheesier westerns of the era he handles himself nicely here in the dual role of father and son especially during the opening scenes where he plays Slim Braddock.
What this boils down to is that "Bulldog Courage" is actually not a bad western as whilst it uses a few cliches it works them well and features one of Tim McCoy's better performances.
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