Code of the Fearless is a fast-paced vintage Western, starring Fred Scott as Texas Ranger Fred Jamison. It combines action, songs, and a mysterious plot to hold the viewer’s attention, which it does nicely. One of the main focuses of the plot involves the question of whether Ranger Fred has turned criminal, having joined a gang, the Skull Mesa gang. Did he also hold up a stagecoach? Or is it part of an elaborate ruse, in which he plots to deceive the gang and then place them under arrest?
There are some interesting characters in the movie, including an elderly prospector called “Old Timer” (Harry Harvey). He owns a burro called Romance, and when Fred’s horse is stolen, he lets him borrow her. He tells Fred that Romance likes sentimental songs and, “if you sing to her, she’ll ride you all day long!” Fred does indeed sing to her, a song with the line, “I see an angel before me, one I could adore.” And Fred has a deep, nice singing voice. He tells Old Timer that his horse is as well known in town as he is, and if someone spots the horse, he’s sure they will let him know.
In a public scene, Capt. Rawlins (Walter McGrail) accuses Fred of being part of the gang, and Fred punches him, knocking him down. He turns in his badge and makes the comment, “If you have proof I’m with the gang, show it, otherwise leave me alone!”
Fred winds up working with the gang leader, Red (John Merton), but again-is this for real or is he playing along with Red in order to eventually arrest him? Red doesn’t want Fred on his trail if he is indeed still a Ranger, saying, “He’s dynamite.” He knows Fred’s reputation and it definitely preceeds Fred. When Fred shows up in town, disguised as an Indian selling baskets, it seems more than likely that he is undercover and still working on the side of the law.
The film contains comedic moments, such as when Old Timer cracks an egg on his trumpet, and when a large frog comes out of the trumpet as Old Timer is playing it. And he joins Fred in singing a song about “Cactus Pete” and he wound up six feet underground.
The movie climaxes with a huge fight between Fred and another man, and goes on and on for a while, with both men having the advantage at various stages in the fight. Who will win? And is Fred indeed on the side of the law, or has he gone bad?
There are several shooting scenes in the film along with cigarette smoking, plus the vigorous fight. It does feature a commendable theme of doing the right thing and that justice can prevail in the end. It has merited our Dove seal for Ages 12+.
The Dove Take
This is an entertaining film with a good moral, that good always triumphs in the end.