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» » Whirlwind Raiders (1948)

Short summary

It's 1873 and the disbanded Texas Rangers have been replaced by the corrupt Texas State Police. Steve Lanning arrives posing as a wanted outlaw to get in with them in his attempt to have them replaced. His inside work helps the Durango Kid break up the State Police raids but he is in trouble when his secret identiy as Durango becomes known to them.

One of over a hundred Columbia features, mostly Westerns, sold to Hygo Television Films in the 1950s, who marketed them under the name of Gail Pictures; opening credits were redesigned, with some titles misspelled, the credit order of the players rearranged, some names misspelled, and new end titles attached, thus eliminating any evidence of their Columbia roots. Apparently, the original material was not retained in most of the cases, and the films have survived, even in the Sony library, only with these haphazardly created replacement opening and end credits.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Anarius
    I've read that Smiley "Frog" Burnette and Charles Starrett didn't get alone so well in real life because when they made their first film together Smiley told Starrett that he had been sent by the studio to bail him out. That may not have been exactly true but it is true for this particular outing. Smiley was an extremely talented songwriter and entertainer but he left a little to be desired as a sidekick. I always thought his humor appealed mainly to the preschool crowd. I always liked Gabby Hayes and Fuzzy St. John better. But in this film, Smiley really shines. His comedy is much better too. So I recommend this particular Durango Kid to see Smiley at his best. Otherwise, it's a typical Charles Starrett/Durango Kid feature. One reviewer pointed out that the Kid's identity is revealed for the first and only time in a movie. So that would be another reason to watch Whirlwind Raiders. As usual in a Saturday afternoon oater, the title has very little to do with the story except to indicate that there is plenty of action.
  • comment
    • Author: Unereel
    The setting is West Texas in 1873, and the Texas Rangers have been disbanded, only to be replaced by the corrupt Texas State Police. Tracy Beaumont (Fred Sears) owns the town of Indian Springs and virtually everything in it, but it's not enough. Gaining the upper hand on respected cattle man Homer Ross, in debt to Beaumont for thirty eight thousand dollars, Beaumont agrees to erase the debt by setting him up as the figurehead Commissioner of State Police. At that point, Beaumont gets to send out tax notices to the local cattlemen under Ross's authority, and dispatches his goons to seize property if the victims can't pay.

    Enter the Durango Kid, whose alter ego Steve Lanning gets on the inside of Beaumont's gang by posing as a wanted man. This is the only Durango Kid film I've seen where Durango's identity is discovered, by young Tommy Ross (Don Reynolds), who's befriended by Lanning in an opening scene. Lanning commits him to secrecy by swearing him in as an honorary Texas Ranger, and as an assignment, sends him back into town to spy on Smiley Burnette! Smiley arrived in town as "The Tinker's Tinkerer" - experts may charge more to fix things, but Smiley charges less.

    This is your standard Durango Kid film, as Smiley gets to do a couple of musical numbers, including a quick change skit playing "Fiddlin' Fool". On hand also are Doye O'Dell and the Radio Rangers, who sound good performing "Give Me Texas" and "Jimmy Crack Corn".

    By film's end, the Durango Kid prevails as he always does, and it's off to the next town to right another wrong. Chances are pretty good that he'll run into Smiley Burnette, and the good guys get to prevail once again.

    Addendum - 12-7-2014 - In the 1952 Durango Kid film "Smoky Canyon", Durango lowers his mask to reveal his identity to Roberta Woodstock (Dani Sue Nolan) with a vow to keep her future husband Jack Mahoney out of trouble with the cattlemen he'd been feuding with.
  • comment
    • Author: TheJonnyTest
    Director: VERNON KEAYS. Screenplay: Norman S. Hall. Photography: M.A. Andersen. Film editor: Paul Borofsky. Art director: Charles Clague. Set decorator: David Montrose. Producer: Colbert Clark.

    Copyright 1948 by Columbia Pictures Corp. U.S. release: 13 May 1948. 6 reels. 54 minutes. U.K. release title: STATE POLICE.

    COMMENT: Slightly above average "Durango Kid" entry, thanks mainly to the presence of Fred F. Sears as the chief villain. True, he's not particularly convincing, but it's always a joy to see him).

    Despite its action-promising title, Whirlwind Raiders is obviously aimed at the juvenile market. Our lovely lead lady, Nancy Saunders, is confined to just one or two small, inconspicuous sequences, whilst the bulk of the footage is given over to Little Brown Jug's entanglements with the Durango Kid and Smiley Burnette. True, there's a bit of action along the way, but the climax runs disappointingly tame.

    As for the direction, label it "totally undistinguished".
  • Cast overview:
    Charles Starrett Charles Starrett - Steve Lanning / The Durango Kid
    Don Reynolds Don Reynolds - Tommy Ross (as Little Brown Jug)
    Nancy Saunders Nancy Saunders - Claire Ross
    Fred F. Sears Fred F. Sears - Tracy Beaumont (as Fred Sears)
    Doye O'Dell Doye O'Dell - Guitar Player
    The Radio Rangers The Radio Rangers - Western Band
    Smiley Burnette Smiley Burnette - Smiley Burnette
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