MAN FROM SONORA (1951) is a Monogram "B" Western starring Johnny Mack Brown. It's available on DVD in the Monogram Cowboy Collection, Vol. 1, from the Warner Archive.
I had previously enjoyed Brown in supporting roles as a sheriff in the Rod Cameron Westerns STAMPEDE (1949) and SHORT GRASS (1950), but this was my first time to see him starring in a "B" Western.
MAN FROM SONORA was a pleasant surprise. It was well-made and engaging, with a nice sense of energy. The dialogue and acting wasn't all stellar, but it was good enough, with Phyllis Coates a lively and intelligent leading lady. (Coates, who played Alice in the JOE McDOAKES shorts, is now 87.) The film moved along and held my attention throughout.
GUN LAW (1938), where he's confronted by an outlaw.
After Johnny's horse is stolen, he hitches a ride into the nearest town, where he works to recover his horse and solve the stage robbery. I'm sure no one familiar with Westerns will be surprised that a seeming pillar of the community, the too-friendly Ed Hooper (House Peters Jr.), is the ringleader of the bad guys.
Good ol' Lyle Talbot plays the sheriff, an old friend of Johnny's, who's caught between the desire to do right and aid his friend on the one hand and playing town politics on the other.
One gets a good sense of the weather from this film. Some of the scenes are quite breezy, and a couple scenes with a stagecoach pulling into town seem to have been shot in early morning fog. I think I could even see the breath from an extra; it must have been chilly!
The black and white photography was by Gilbert Warrenton. According to A Drifting Cowboy, which featured the nice still below to the right, the film was shot at Iverson Ranch.
MAN FROM SONORA runs 54 minutes and was directed by Lewis D. Collins from a screenplay by Maurice Tombragel. The supporting cast included Lee Roberts, Dennis Moore, John Merton, and Stanley Price.
The Warner Archive print of MAN FROM SONORA was excellent. It's rather amazing that a relatively unsung little Monogram "B" Western could look so nice over six decades later!
CAVALRY SCOUT (1951), the only color film in this set. I'll be reviewing more Johnny Mack Brown and Jimmy Wakely movies from Volume 1 of the Monogram Cowboy Collection in the days to come. Based on seeing the first two films, this set is a nice treat for those who enjoy exploring lesser-known films in the Western genre.
Thanks to the Warner Archive for providing a review copy of this DVD collection. Warner Archive releases are MOD (manufactured on demand) and may be ordered at the Warner Archive website.