Ryder Meets his Match
The Governor has given permission to allow the heavyweight championship to take place in Nevada and not everyone agrees with the barbaric sport such as Molly McVey (Peggy Stewart), the daughter of a U.S. Senator who is crusading against prize-fighting in Nevada. It brings her in to conflict with Red Ryder (Allan Lane) and his aunt, The Duchess (Martha Wentworth), as they have given permission to "Gentleman Jim" Corbett (George Turner) to train for the fight on their ranch. When Molly hires a couple of guys to kidnap Corbett so the fight can't go ahead they end up kidnapping Red by mistake. Meanwhile trouble is coming to town as McKean (Roy Barcroft) and his outlaws have come to rob the place.
I have to admit that the name Peggy Stewart meant nothing to me before watching "Vigilantes of Boomtown", I may have seen a movie which she had appeared in but hadn't noticed her. But after watching this Allan Lane western from 1947 that has changed as it is Peggy Stewart as the forthright and attractive Molly McVey who makes this movie as she stands up for what she believes and often gets frustrated by Red Ryder as he stops her. In many ways her performance here as Molly reminds me of those Maureen O'Hara shared with John Wayne, just not so feisty.
It isn't just Peggy Stewart who makes "Vigilantes of Boomtown" as this has in some ways a more original storyline as we have a boxing fight, opposition to the sport as well as some outlaws looking to steal the prize money. Of course there is a certain level of familiarity to all this as we have mistaken idea and bad guys but the whole movie has a more light hearted feel about it with Allan Lane fooling around a bit by making Ryder the sort of boxing fan who is throwing punches whilst watching people fight. In fact there are some well timed comedy routines in this western especially when it comes to Corbett's trainer teaching Ryder the art of boxing.
What this all boils down to is that "Vigilantes of Boomtown" is one of the more entertaining Red Ryder movies I have watched with a fun storyline. But for me it is the scene stealing performance from Peggy Stewart who makes this movie.