Smoking Guns (1942) starring Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Dave O'Brien, John Merton, Milton Kibbee, Ted Adams directed by Sam Newfield Movie Review

Smoking Guns (1942)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Buster Crabbe in Smoking Guns (1942)

Billy and the Doc

Billy the Kid (Buster Crabbe - Arizona Raiders) and his friends Fuzzy (Al St. John) and Jeff (Dave O'Brien) find themselves coming to the aid of a distressed young boy whose father has been wounded. But just as they arrive so does the Sheriff (Ted Adams) who arrests them for the shooting. But the Sheriff is part of a gang secretly lead by Dr. Elmo Hagen (Milt Kibbee) who is killing of the ranchers and farmers to steal their land and crops. Having escaped from the sheriff Billy and his friends hide out at the Howard ranch where they learn that the Ranchers Cooperative Association run by Morgan (John Merton) is a front for these crooks and that Dr. Hagen is the real ring leader which isn't good as Jeff is being treated by the Doc for an injury.

"Smoking Guns" or to afford it its full title "Billy the Kid's Smoking Guns" is two things. Firstly it is one of a whole series of westerns which saw Buster Crabbe playing the legendary Billy the Kid, although this Billy the Kid is clearly a good guy who helps those in need. Crabbe's Billy is a handsome good guy especially when it comes to a little kid in need and not the dangerous outlaw you will find in most westerns.

Secondly "Smoking Guns" is for the most a tick box western with a storyline of a crooked man using a front to rob ranchers and farmers from their land. From Billy finding a kid in need to a crooked sheriff it is pretty much standard stuff and not just the story elements as the action is standard as well. The only real twist on the familiar is that the mastermind is an evil doctor who will make sure those he want dead dies when he treats them. What that means is that whilst entertaining with some typical humour coming from Al St. John as sidekick Fuzzy it is just that, typical.

What this all boils down to is that "Smoking Guns" is nothing more than another western from the 1940s and in this case one of a whole series of westerns featuring Buster Crabbe as Billy the Kid. For western aficionados it is of some interest but offers little for those who are just after some western action.