Hoot Gibson in The Cowboy Counsellor (1932)

The Ranchman's Own Lawyer

Sheriff Matt Farraday (Al Bridge) and his men are giving chase to a robber leading to them landing up on the Avery ranch where after the real robber dumped evidence he arrests Luke (Fred Gilman) the older brother of Ruth (Sheila Bromley) and Bobby (Bobby Nelson). Not long after Luke's arrest, Dan Alton (Hoot Gibson), a travelling conman masquerading as a lawyer selling a law book, arrives in town and finds himself hired by Ruth and Bobby to prove their brother's innocence. Despite knowing little about being a lawyer Dan is a quick talker and ends up finding a way to prove Luke's innocence.

I've watched quite a few westerns from the early 1930s and will admit before coming across "The Cowboy Counsellor" I had never heard of Hoot Gibson. Truth be told I wasn't expecting a great deal from either "The Cowboy Counsellor" or Hoot Gibson but ended up pleasantly surprised by what turned out to be a different western to what most of these early westerns were.

Sheila Bromley, Fred Gilman and Bobby Nelson in The Cowboy Counsellor (1932)

Now whilst "The Cowboy Counsellor" starts with a pretty typical opening with the Sheriff, here played by a memorable Al Bridge, ending up arresting an innocent man on suspicion of robbery what follows is not so typical. What we get is the humour of Hoot Gibson playing a hustler who is incredibly smart and manages to out think others to get what he wants. None of it is complicated but with Dan being a man with a scheme or hoodwink always up his sleeves it is a lot of fun. And truth be told director George Melford does a nice job of giving this some style and atmosphere when needed.

What this all boils down to is that "The Cowboy Counsellor" ended up a much better movie than I was expecting it to be with plenty of humour but also some wonderful styling which makes it feel different to a lot of westerns from the era.