Hosted by cowboy Sunset Carson you are guided on a tour of the western hero?s of a bygone era. A great look into the past as well as a great introduction to this big set of Johnny Mac Brown westerns.


In his first of 16 Westerns for independent producer A.W. Hackel, Johnny Mack Brown is Branded a Coward when instead of preventing a saloon hold-up, he is spotted cowering behind the bar. The reason for Johnny Hume's reticence is to be found in his background: 20 years earlier, little Johnny was orphaned when his parents' wagon was attacked by a gang of outlaws headed by the infamous "Cat" (Yakima Canutt). As the grown Johnny explains to stuttering sidekick Oscar (Syd Saylor), he has been "yellow ever since."

Johnny's courage is tested once again when the two friends witness a stage hold-up. After chasing the outlaws away, Johnny and Oscar escort the stage into the town of Lawless, AZ, where female passenger Ethel Carson (Billie Seward) extols Johnny's prowess with a gun. To his embarrassment, Johnny is elected deputy marshal. Secrets from the past keep resurfacing and Johnny must constantly fight his own fears. In the end, the former coward proves his real worth in a final face-to-face struggle with the leader of the stage robbers (Robert Kortman), a villain patterning himself after the original Cat. During the fight, an unusual birthmark on the outlaw's arm reveals him to be Johnny's own brother Billy. Long thought killed in the massacre, Billy has instead been raised by the original, now deceased Cat.


In his second Western for Poverty Row producer A.W. Hackel, former football star Johnny Mack Brown goes in search of both his long-lost father and foster-sister. Mistakenly believing that they murdered his young son Johnny, John Wellington (William Farnum) kills three ruffians and becomes a wanted man. Young Johnny (Barry Downing), who had survived the attack, is instead raised by rich Sir George Thorne (Lloyd Ingraham). The latter's old-fashioned ideas causes him to lose both his son-in-law, Gentry Winters (Frank Ball), and young granddaughter, Gale.

In his search for the missing girl, Johnny ( now Mack Brown) learns that Winters has been killed by Trent (Earl Dwire), an outlaw whose advances Gale (Beth Marion) had spurned. Aiding Johnny in his quest to capture Trent is one Rand who, it turns out, is none other than the missing John Wellington. Although initially opposed to Johnny's courting of Gale, Wellington/Rand changes his mind in due time and heroically takes a bullet meant for his son. After finishing off the murderous Trent in a final confrontation, Johnny can begin to plan a more peaceful future with Gale. According to contemporary reports, Between Men was filmed in six days at Lone Pine, CA


Mack plays Dan Doran, the rogue of the title, who rescues a pretty missionary, Tess (Phyllis Hume), from the ubiquitous runaway team. In town, Doran not only leaves the welfare of the girl to Stella, the saloon hostess (Lois January), but admits to having earlier robbed the stage. Sent up the river for 20 years, Dan makes the acquaintance of Jim Mitchell (George Ball), a fellow inmate, and the two make their escape together. Returning to the scene of the crime, Dan joins Jim's gang of stage robbers.

The town's natty-looking banker, Lige Branscomb (Alden Chase aka Stephen Chase) is observed courting Tess, who now owns the Golden Nugget coffee shop. Dan, who is in reality an undercover G-man, has Stella rescue Tess from marrying the villainous Branscomb who, of course, is the secret leader of the gang of stage robbers. Leaving Tess to her coffee shop, Dan proposes to Stella, who accepts. Although already beginning to exhibit the middle-age spread that would mar his later appearances, Johnny Mack Brown once again proves that he was a better actor than most of his B- western rivals.


Gambling Terror was one of the more worthwhile entries in Johnny Mack Brown's so-so western series for producer A.W. Hackel. The no-frills plotline finds hero Jeff (Brown), ostensibly a dude gambler, taking on a band of cowboy racketeers. The "big boss" turns out to be the outwardly respectable Bradley (Earl Dwire), a frontier Capone who runs a profitable protection racket aimed at the local cattlemen. The direction and camerawork are sloppy, but the action content can't be faulted.



Acting upon the belief that he accidentally murdered his best pal, a gunman swears never to draw his weapon again.


Directed by former film editor S. Roy Luby, this above-average mystery-western starred Johnny Mack Brown as Billy Donovan, a sharpshooter turned ammunitions expert coming to the aid of Jean Haloran (Sheila Mannors aka Sheila Bromley), whose ranch is the target of the "Desert Phantom," a masked killer.

During his investigation of several mysterious deaths attributed to the "phantom," Billy comes across a wide range of suspects that includes Salizar (Ted Adams) a Mexican bandit trying to blackmail Jean into marrying him; Tom Jackson (Karl Hackett), Jean's somnambulistic stepfather; and Jim Day (Hal Price), a greedy neighbor. Literally stumbling over a hidden gold mine along the way, Billy manages to unmask the killer and save the girl from the usual fate worse than death. Desert Phantom was one of the last films distributed by A.W. Hackel's low-budget Supreme Pictures. Beginning with Undercover Man (1936), the Hackel/Brown series would be handled by Republic Pictures.


No, we don't get to see Johnny Mack Brown's mother in labor in A Lawman is Born. Brown is "born" as a star packer when he's fully grown. He is moved to slap on his guns by a gang of usurping cattle rustlers. Iris Meredith is the leading lady and Warner Richmond the principal baddie in this reasonably realistic oater. A Lawman is Born was produced independently by A.W. Hackel, and released by Republic Pictures


Boothill Brigade stars Johnny Mack Brown as frontier do-gooder Lon Cardigan. Villainous land-grabber John Porter (Edward Cassidy) spends most of the early reels divesting homesteaders of the hard-earned property. All of this comes to an end when Cardigan looms into view, fists at the ready.

Seldom resorting to gunplay, our hero manages to send Porter's minions scurrying, then concentrates on cleaning the main bad guy's clock. Produced by A.W. Hackel for Republic release, Boothill Brigade boasts considerably better cinematography than the usual Hackel product.



With the 1939 Johnny Mack Brown western Desperate Trails, veteran B-flick director Albert Ray set up shop at Universal. Brown and comic sidekick Fuzzy Knight are cast as Steve Hayden and Cousin Willie, on the trail of cattle rustlers. The action highlights were exciting, if a bit hard to swallow: in one sequence, the hero shoots at a gang of outlaws, one-handed, with a repeating rifle, never missing his target!

Desperate Trails represented a step down for singing cowboy Bob Baker, who after a year of starring in his own series was relegated to second lead in this Brown vehicle. Also on hand is Bill Cody Jr., son of the white-stetsoned cowboy hero of the silent era.


Oklahoma Frontier was Johnny Mack Brown's second starring western for Universal. On the eve of his honeymoon with new bride Janet Rankin (Anne Gwynne), homesteader Jeff McLeod (Brown) is thrown into jail at the behest of villain George Frazier (James Blaine). It takes some doing, but McLeod finally manages to elude his captors, reclaim his land and find lasting happiness with his missus.

Universal's resident singing cowboy Bob Baker is cast as Janet's brother, who is killed off halfway through the picture-warning enough to Baker that his days as a film star were numbered. Writer/director Ford Beebe keeps Oklahoma Frontier constantly on the move, seldom letting the actors-or the audience-catch their breath.


Chip of the Flying U was Johnny Mack Brown's first western entry for 1940. Brown essays the title role of Chip Bennett, foreman of the Flying U ranch. Before the second reel has tumbled over the spools, Chip finds himself falsely accused of robbery and murder. The actual miscreants are in the employ of a band of foreign gunrunners, who speak in heavily Teutonic accents. Rest assured that Chip makes short work of these bush-league Storm Troopers before the sun sets in the West. Musical interludes are provided by a group calling themselves the Texas Rangers, even though they actually hailed from Kansas City.


West of Carson City remains one of the best of Johnny Mack Brown's Universal westerns. The story takes place in a gold-rush community where the locals are taken to the cleaners by duplicitious Eastern gamblers. When it becomes obvious that the local constabulary has been "bought off" by the crooks, two-fisted cattleman Jim Bannister (Brown) swings into action. The film's highlight is an outsized fistic brawl between the hero and secondary villain Breed, played by loose-limbed comic stuntman Frank Mitchell. Peggy Moran, one of Universal's most overworked ingenues, provides the nominal romantic relief.



a newspaper editor discovers an irrigation swindle and calls in Johnny Mack Brown to get rid of the bad guys


Johnny Mack Brown plays a dual role in the Universal B-western Bad Man From Red Butte. It seems that honest, upright Gil Brady has a less-than-honest twin brother, a desperado who goes by the name of Buck Halliday. Eventually, Gil is blamed for the crimes committed by Buck, and is promptly tossed in the calaboose. With the help of frontier lawyer Gabriel Hornsby (Bob Baker) and snake-oil peddler Spud Jenkins (Fuzzy Knight), Gil manages to clear his name and bring his black-sheep sibling to justice. Heroine Anne Gwynne offers a refreshing and likeable slant on the traditional "new schoolma'rm" role.


In this exciting western, Roaring Dan is the meanest old cuss around. He and his "son" are constantly bickering. But things are not as they seem as the young man is only pretending to be Dan's son so they can find the killers of the young man's real father. Among the guilty are two women. In the end, the young hero and the killer engage in a thrilling fist fight


Universal's Ragtime Cowboy Joe is a modern western with a dash of music, not unlike the standard fare at Republic Pictures. The title character is a confused cowhand played by Fuzzy Knight, while the hero is Steve (Johnny Mack Brown), an undercover detective on the prowl for cattle rustlers. Villain Dick Curtis, fresh from getting his lumps in Columbia's Charles Starrett films, is chief henchman for the land grabber who is behind the rustling. In traditional fashion, the plot is wrapped up by a chase and a quick exchange of blows. Ragtime Cowboy Joe boasts no fewer than two heroines: pert stenographer Mary (Marilyn-later Lynn Merrick) and cowgirl Helen (played by Nell O'Day, one of the best horsewomen in the movies)



In this western, a retired marshal must once again put on his badge to protect his town from the vicious desperadoes that killed his girl friend's father. The girl uses her shooting prowess to assist them.


Inspired no doubt by the success of Republic Pictures' singing cowboys, Universal dragged Jimmy Wakely and his Rough Riders harmony group into performing a couple of hayseed ditties in this Johnny Mack Brown oater. Johnny plays Cal Sheridan, a pony express rider hired to replace alcoholic station agent Griff Atkins (Stanley Blystone). The latter naturally takes umbrage to being ousted and begins a reign of terror that culminates in a fake Indian raid and the murder of station agent Reese.

Cal, however, isn't fooled by the "Indians" and manages to run both Atkins and his murderous henchmen to ground. In between the skullduggery, Wakely and his Rough Riders perform Johnny Bond's "Ride, Ride, Ride" and Everett Carter and Milton Rosen's "My Saddle Serenade", while comedy relief Fuzzy Knight takes care of Bond's "I Don't Milk No Cows".


In this western, a town finds itself under the tyrannical control of a shady sheriff. He is usurped by an honest outside lawman and his bumbling side-kick


In this western, a mining engineer vengefully seeks out the claim jumpers that murdered his brother.

JOHNNY MACK BROWN WESTERN SETS #1,#2,#3,#4, #5   ***NEW***
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