I hadn’t see a (Wild) Bill Elliott film till recently, but I bought both DVD box sets of his western films and  of the detective films he made at the end of his film career.

I sought  them out  them after reading reviews at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings website (

And I  enjoyed all of them, particularly the crime films.


BILL ELLIOTT (1904 – 1965)  was the son of a cattle rancher. He grew up around horses and took part in rodeos.

He came to Hollywood  in 1925 and appeared in around 100 films between 1929 and 1937. With the Columbia serial, THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF WILD BILL HICKOK in 1938, he became a top western star.



In 1943, he appeared in a series for Republic  and became known as Wild Bill Elliott. Over the next two years, with GABBY HAYES costarring, he made 16 movies as the character RED RYDER.

His trademark pair of guns were worn butt-forward in the holsters. His character invariably smoked a pipe and he usually wore the same hat!

The Monogram films in the DVD box set usually had the same writers and directors , and I.STANFORD JOLLEY seemed to be every one.

There  was sure to be at least one fist fight, a shoot-out and a chase on horseback.

His characters in these westerns may have been varied – a Union officer, a gambler, a man searching for his father’s killer – but basically he was Wild Bill, more or less the same in every film.



Playing the homicide detective,Lt. Andy Doyle,  in 5 police dramas in the 1950s were his first non -westerns since 1938. He adapted well to the modern setting and was supported by DON  HAGGERTY as Sgt.Mike Duncan.

The 5 films were made by Allied Artists from 1955 to 1957 and I enjoyed all five of them. Lots of good supporting players like LYLE TALBOT, JEANNE COOPER, JAMES FLAVIN, TOM DRAKE, KEITH LARSEN.

Average running time of the films was 65 mins and the plots were solid . Elliott ‘s long experience in front of the camera gave him an easy, natural style which I liked.

He gave  up films and moved to  Las Vegas in 1957 and hosted a local TV program which featured his films.

So thanks, Laura, for introducing me to Mr. Elliott. I know I’ll be watching his 1950s thrillers more than once.










12 responses »

  1. A lovely photo gallery as always-love that Dell comic!
    If you like the Monogram/Allied Artists films I think you will love
    the 10 A Westerns that he made for Republic.These films had
    bigger budgets and better supporting casts.
    Try THE SHOWDOWN-a Western that begins with a grave
    robbing sequence set during a thunderstorm at midnight-
    a strong,dark adult themed Western.

  2. Vienna, I couldn’t have been happier than to see this post, I’m so delighted that my reviews encouraged you to try Elliott’s movies. His style initially took a little getting used to but he ended up being one of my favorite discoveries of the last couple years — great “movie comfort food” where you get what you expect. Like you I especially liked the detective movies and wish he’d made more of them! They felt kind of like DRAGNET to me, nothing flashy but good, absorbing stories with, as you note, good casts.

    I need to try more of his “A” pictures now myself, that’s a goal for 2017!

    Happy New Year! And in addition to your own wonderful blog, thanks for being a regular reader over at my place! 🙂

    Best wishes,

  3. Thanks to John Knight for telling me I need to check out Vienna’s great write-up on Wild Bill!! He has been known to me since childhood (courtesy those Dell comics (I may well have had the one pictured)) but later I was able to access his many films. He has become a major favourite for me.
    I woulod echo John’s recommendation, Vienna (and Laura), that you try to seek out his Republic ‘A’ productions. Very fine! Hollywood Scrapheap offers “PLAINSMAN AND THE LADY”, “WYOMING” & “SAVAGE HORDE” at great prices. All recommended.
    I also though have special fondness for his Columbia series 1939-42 and for his Wild Bill Elliott series of 8 with Gabby Hayes for Republic in 1943. When it comes to series westerns they are second to none!!
    Really enjoyed this entry.

    Happy New Year from Bedfordshire, Vienna!

  4. Fully understand! His postage costs (including overseas) are minimal. I think mine got through without any customs charges.

  5. Regarding customs duties to the UK:
    Normally on Amazon USA if the item (excluding postage) is
    less than £15 there are no import duties.
    I just pre ordered the Blu Ray of BAD BAY AT BLACK ROCK
    (value £15.20) and was not charged import duties.
    What really used to get my goat was the Post Office handling charge
    of £8.00 but this no longer applies when Amazon USA deduct the
    import duty in advance.
    Most,if not all USA mail order companies under estimate the
    parcels value so there are no import duties payable.
    In these days of the incredible shrinking pound every penny counts!
    BTW Amazon USA now use courier companies which means faster
    deliveries and no worries about items getting lost in the mail system.

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