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The Unknown Ranger (1920, B&W, Silent): Cowboy Buck Manning becomes suspicious of a gang of strangers who suddenly appear in the quiet Devil's River area near the Mexican border. He discovers that they are actually running a dangerous opium smuggling ring and will eliminate anyone who interferes with their nefarious trade. Rex Ray was a perfect star for The Unknown Ranger. Nothing is known about him other than in 1920 he starred in this and another western both made for independent studio Aywon. While both films appear to have the same cast and crew, only The Unknown Ranger survives. Producer Nathan Hirsch took the time to include a number of picturesque and unique locations. Also devilishly daring by having the villains engage in opium smuggling rather than the run-of-the-mill cattle rustling. Black Cyclone (1925, B&W, Silent): The biggest star of silent films was Rin Tin Tin, a dog. So producers tried other animal stars. Legendary producer Hal Roach put his talented studio behind Rex, the Wonder Horse. In this film the lives of Rex and a cowboy Jim Lawson (Guinn Williams) run parallel paths. They learn that as a team they can help each other overcome the adversities and enemies each must face in the rugged west. A real life westerner, Guinn "Big Boy" Williams had a long career in films. First as a cowboy star in silent and early sound films and then later as a dependable character actor and sidekick in both westerns and non-westerns. His last film was John Wayne's Commacheros in 1961. Also in the credits is the name George Stevens. Before he became a legendary director of such hits as Shane, Giant and Gunga Din, Stevens learned his craft behind the camera at Roach Studios working on features such as this and shorts, most notably with Laurel and Hardy.

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ALP5728 Unknown Ranger (1920) / Black Cyclone (1925) DVD (Guinn Big Boy Williams) $5.99