“The Marshal of Mesa City”

Sometimes, B-Westerns run together as one singular conglomeration of cattle stampedes, chases and gunfights.
But once in a while, one stands out because it does not follow the format.
Such a production is “The Marshal of Mesa City” (1939, RKO Radio Pictures), starring George O’Brien.
O’Brien was RKOmarshal of mesa city thumb‘s go-to cowboy star in the mid-1930s to the early 1940s. He was not a fancy dresser or a singer. O’Brien was a no-nonsense hombre with a sense of humor who was as tough as they come.
In “The Marshal of Mesa City,” O’Brien plays Cliff Mason, a retired lawman who becomes marshal in a town run by Jud Cronin, a corrupt sheriff, played with deadly charm by Leon Ames.
When the sheriff learns he cannot buffalo Mason, he brings in a hired gun, Duke Allison (Henry Brandon) to do away with the marshal. But when Cronin has one of his men try to shoot Mason in the back, Allison saves his life and turns on Cronin and his bunch.
The film is another variation of the Wyatt Earp-Doc Holliday-Gunfight at the O.K. Corral theme.
What sets the picture apart, is the relationship between the marshal and the gunfighter. They quickly form a believable camaraderie that proves deadly for Cronin and his minions.
At 62 minutes, the movie proceeds at a rapid pace with plenty of action.
Virginia Vale plays the schoolteacher who shuns the unwanted advances of Cronin. Harry Cording and Slim Whitaker are among Cronin’s henchmen.
The film is included in the “George O’Brien 3-Film Collection” from the Warner Archive Collection.

“The Marshal of Mesa City”
3 stars out of 4