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Ken Maynard was the roughest, toughest, straight-shootin'est picture-makin'est hombre who ever laid siege to Old Hollywood. Ken Mitchell (Maynard) inherits both the ranch and bad reputation of an uncle who had been suspected of provoking a disastrous outbreak of stampedes. The distrustful ranchers will have none of Ken's help, so he insinuates his way into a murderous outlaw gang. He learns that a big-shot cattleman named Collins is secretly the real culprit and suits himself up as the Phantom Rancher, thwarting Collins' takeover plans by helping the locals meet their mortgages. The masquerade is more Robin Hood than Phantom of the Horse Opera, but Maynard's very anger and indignation render this Phantom a figure of menace. Maynard's attitude is that of a rambunctious, hard-riding Westerner, and his magnificent charger, Tarzan, is still the smartest horse in the movies, Roy Rogers' Trigger notwithstanding. An unnervingly proud and plain-spoken artist, Ken Maynard had come to the screen in 1924 as a veteran of the rodeo and Wild West circuits, rapidly winning a devoted following even as he estranged himself from one studio after another with his insistence upon creative autonomy. (Michael H. Price with George Turner, From Forgotten Horrors 2: Beyond the Horror Ban, published by Midnight Marquee Press. Reprinted with permission.)

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ALP4281 Phantom Rancher DVD (1940/Ken Maynard) $5.99