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|Clearing the Range|
|Directed by||Otto Brower|
|Produced by||M.H. Hoffman Jr.|
|Written by||Jack Cunningham|
|Screenplay by||Jack Natteford|
|Edited by||Mildred Johnston|
Clearing the Range is a 1931 American Pre-Code Western film starring Hoot Gibson and his then wife Sally Eilers. Directed by Otto Brower, it was the first film released by the Poverty Row studio Allied Pictures. Gibson remade the film in 1933 as The Dude Bandit.
As with many of Gibson's starring roles in westerns, he pretends to be a clueless "peaceful man" in front of his friends, but when trouble starts—in this case, his Banker brother has been murdered by his assistant—he resorts to clever trickery without being seen or suspected to undo the villain. By going underground, so to speak, his efforts are more effective in uncovering the murderer than a run-and-gun approach. Inevitably, the female lead, as in this film, looks down her nose at Gibson's public persona, but admires his "other" self's deeds of daring and courage, not realizing it's the same man. Eventually, he relies on fists and guns to finish the job he started with trickery. This unusually complex dual-identity plot device is a hallmark of many of Gibson's films, something that set him apart from many other western film heroes of the era (and afterwards) who were quick to draw their six shooter to settle disputes.
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