Tex Takes on Hoof and Mouth

Tex Ritter in The Cowboy from Sundown (1940)

With drought already causing problems for the cattlemen the site of Sheriff Tex Rockett (Tex Ritter) slapping quarantine notices on all the ranches due to suspected Hoof and Mouth disease is the last straw. When cattleman Steve Davis (Dave O'Brien) decides to break the quarantine and take his herd to the railhead it leads to Tex having to arrest Steve. But it also leads to Nick Cuttler (Carleton Young), son of banker Cylus (George Pembroke), stirring up the other cattlemen to not only break Steve out of jail but cause problems for Tex. It leads to Tex and government agent Bret Stockton (Glenn Strange) becoming suspicious of Nick especially when they catch him doing some strange to the cattle.

Different cast but familiar characters is how many of these old oaters come across and you sort of find yourself wondering how they got away with. Take "The Cowboy from Sundown" which saw Tex Ritter in the hero cowboy role, a role which in another movie could have been played by Roy Rogers, Tim McCoy, Bob Steele, Rex Lease, Jack Perrin, Gene Autry, but probably not John Wayne due to this being one of those singing cowboy heroes. And whilst Tex Ritter is entertaining in the role of Sheriff Tex Rockett he doesn't really stand out from the crowd and you won't remember him when you sit down to watch your next old western.

It is pretty much the same with the storyline as whilst "The Cowboy from Sundown" we have this interesting set up with Hoof and Mouth disease causing tensions to rise amongst the ranchers and the sheriff the end result is just another corrupt banker trying to grab land by making it impossible for the land owners to pay back their loans. Yes we have the interesting angle of the crooked banker also aiming to have the sheriff run out of town by making him unpopular but it does boil down to crooked businessman grabbing land and I imagine even back in 1940 people were getting tired of the same themes being recycled.

What this all boils down to is that "The Cowboy from Sundown" is an entertaining western and in truth the writers have put some work in to the story. But the underlying storyline is recycled and as such is never anything more than just okay.

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