Tim Madigan (Tim McCoy), gentleman gambler who never carries a gun, exposes a card sharp cheating Jose Hernandez (Red Lease.) Later, the gambler is shot after being knocked unconscious by Tim. Through circumstances, Jose thinks he did the killing, while Marshal Tom Barstow (Earle Hodgins) thinks Tim is the guilty party.Tim takes refuge at the ranch of Don Hernandez (Joseph Girard) and his daughter Juanita (Luana Walters), not knowing the youth he befriended is the runaway son of the family. Saloon owner Amos Harden (J. Frank Glendon) and gambler Ace Morgan (Wheeler Oakman), who sat in on the card game preceding the murder, are plotting to acquire the Hernandez ranch by means of a forged document. Harassed by the Marshal, who is seeking to unravel the murder mystery, Tim persuades Jose to return home. Tim then wins enough in a poker game with Harden and Morgan to save the Hernandez ranch. He stakes his winnings against Harden's saloon and wins with aces-and-eights, known throughout the West as the hand held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was killed by Jack McCall.
A cardsharp comes to the aid of a Mexican family.
Tim McCoy was a real Westerner, a great horseman, and a better actor than most people might think, those considering him "just" a B Western star.
This Western is flawed by several Gringos trying, not very successfully, to play Mexicans, but there are many intriguing characters and a complex plot in a story set in Spanish-heritage California and Nevada to more than make up for the flaws.
The major locale is Rawhide, Nevada, a real town, now a ghost town, but it once looked like this: http://www.westernmininghistory.com/towns/nevada/rawhide
Perhaps the biggest flaw is Rex Lease, who gives good performances in other movies, but here he fails with a Mexican accent, and has trouble mounting his horse.
More than compensating for Lease is Earle Hodgins, here called Earl. Often cast as a fast-talking carnival or medicine-show barker, his role here as a marshal is different, perhaps (and reminding in some ways of John Cleese's playing a sheriff in "Silverado"), but he is a capable enough actor to pull it off beautifully.
Possibly the most intriguing note, though, is from the great Karl Hackett, who not only narrates at the beginning of "Aces and Eights," but plays that most famous holder of a poker hand of aces and eights, Wild Bill Hickok. And he doesn't even get screen credit.
Wheeler Oakman plays the slimy Ace Morgan, and as usual he makes us believe he really is despicable, in a great performance.
"Aces and Eights" is a flawed movie, with some obviously dubbed-in sound effects and an identical shot of a poker-hand close-up used at least three times.
But it stars Tim McCoy. All I ever need to know is It Stars Tim McCoy.
I'll watch it, and I'll recommend it. It Stars Tim McCoy, and it's available at YouTube. This low-budget oater opens with a brief prologue featuring Wild Bill Hickok (Karl Hackett), who was shot in the back and killed while holding a poker hand of a pair of aces and a pair of eights, before showing our hero Gentleman Tim Madigan (Tim McCoy) winning a game with the very same hand. Madigan is a somewhat ambiguous hero who dresses sharply and knows all the card sharp's tricks. He can also tear a pack of cards into four, which is pretty impressive. He also never uses a gun, choosing instead to simply disarm anyone who aims one at him.
Together with his sidekick Lucky (Jimmy Aubrey, probably the only Liverpudlian you're ever likely to see in a western), Gentleman Tim gets involved in foiling a plan by a local bar owner and his partner to swindle a Spanish ranch owner out of his property. The film is fairly good for a low budget effort, with decent acting from the leading man. The modest nature of the budget shows through every now and then, though; for example, the background crowd noise during the final poker game between Tim and the bar owner is clearly a loop which repeats every five seconds or so. Despite this, the film is reasonably enjoyable, with the only drawback being the wooden acting of the female lead Luana Walters, who fortunately only has about five minutes screen time. Walters went on to feature in a further sixty films over the next twenty-four years, though, so I guess she must have had something going for her. a5c7b9f00b
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