“OK, I won’t know you from Adam.” “Well I’ll be dressed a whole lot different ‘n he was.”

Larry Sutton (Randolph Scott) is a mining engineer that was hired by the Ballard mine. He is there to replace his brother-in-law Jack Parson. Parson has disappeared and is suspected of murdering the ranches caretaker Adolph Borg, who was crushed beneath a stamp press. Sutton is there to, not only take his brother-in-law’s place but, to find out who really killed Borg. When he arrives at the mine he meets deputy sheriff Tex Murdock (Chic Sale). Sutton and Tex hit it off and decide to help each other investigate the murder.

The owner of the mine is James Ballard (George F. Marion). He is old and bed ridden. There are a number of relatives hanging around waiting for the old man to die so they can inherit. In attendance are his nephew Fritz (Howard Wilson), Fritz’s sister Flora (Kathleen Burke) and Jim’s other niece Rita (Ann Sheridan). Also living at the mine homestead is the housekeeper Mrs. Borg (Leslie Carter) and her son John (James Eagles). The remaining staff member is the cook and handyman Ling Yat (Willie Fung).

Not long after Sutton arrives Fritz is killed. He is also crushed under the stamp press. The press is used to crush rocks for extracting ore. Someone attempts to shoot John but only nicks him. Later someone knocks Sutton unconscious and tries to crush him under the press as well. He recovers in time to move away from the press. The only clue is a large cloaked figure disappearing into the darkness. Then Flora is slashed in the throat with a straight razor and killed.

Sutton sends for Ballard's estranged wife (Florence Roberts). In the meantime Rita is kidnapped. Sutton has an idea who the killer is, but he needs proof to make his case and time is running out.

“Rocky Mountain Mystery” AKA “The Fighting Westerner” was released in 1935 and was directed by Charles Barton. The movie is a western/mystery based on an unpublished Zane Grey novel called “Golden Dreams”.

The movie was filmed on location at the Doble mine and the stamping mill on Gold Mountain in Big Bear Valley. Even though the movie is a western it happens after WW I so there are phones, electricity and automobiles incorporated in the film. It’s also more mystery than western.

The only one who actually acts like a cowboy is Murdock and he does enough aw shucks and dog gones to cover everybody. But don’t let him fool you, he’s more savvy than he acts.

The mystery is quite good and combining the genres is an interesting touch. As for the murders, I was surprised that such a disgustingly gross way was used. Granted you didn’t see the victims being squashed by the stamping mill but the thought of it sounded messy.

Despite the gruesome weapon, and the sound of the stamping mill, the movie was actually fun and very entertaining. With some humor sprinkled in by Chic Sale, it’s a good way to spend about an hour of your time.

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