HAUNTED RANGE (1926)
Article 5407 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Paul Hurst
Featuring Ken Maynard, Alma Rayford, Harry Moody
What it is: Weird Western, silent style
A new cowboy owns the Baldwin ranch, but he discovers there’s a gang in town run by a man named Foster that doesn’t like him. Furthermore, the ranch seems to be haunted by a night-riding ghost.
It took me quite a while to hunt down a copy of this one, and the print I found doesn’t appear to be anywhere near complete; the opening is missing, there are jump cuts, and altogether the movie runs about thirty minutes. There is, however, enough here to get a good idea of what it’s about; the crucial final reel is mostly there. It looks like a fairly decent entry in the genre, though it does have the requisite scared black character whenever the ghost shows up. My favorite scene features a chase up a steep cliff. And there is one bizarre scene that I’d really like an explanation for; at one point. several cowboys get distracted by a bevy of bathing beauties that appear out of nowhere. Why? I don’t know, but maybe that’s why they’re called weird westerns.