“The Eagles Brood” was the second feature in the long running Hopalong Cassidy series produced by Harry “Pop” Sherman. Directed by Howard Bretherton, it gives us some spectacular outdoor photography and several exciting action sequences including the good guys riding to the rescue in the nick of time at the film’s climax.
The story opens with the notorious Mexican bandit El Toro’s son and his wife being brutally murdered. Their young son hides and is taken in by saloon girl Dolores (Nana Martin aka Joan Woodbury). El Toro (William Farnum) vows revenge and sets out to find his grandson. Along the way he rescues “Bill” Cassidy (William Boyd) from quicksand. Cassidy then offers to find the grandson in payment for El Toro’s saving of his life. Cassidy and his pal Johnny Nelson (Jimmy Ellison) set out to find the murderers. Dolores meanwhile, is the girl friend of the head bad guy Big Henry (Addison Richards) and learns that it was his men who murdered El Toro’s son and his wife. Big Henry finds out that the grandson is alive and has witnessed the crime. So he and his gang which includes Frank Shannon, Paul Fix and John Merton, also search for the missing youngster.
Big Henry learns that Dolores is harboring the child and in a scene unusual for a series western, murders her in cold blood. Cassidy in the mean time, finds the boy and shields him from the outlaws. A shootout ensues followed by the aforementioned ride to the rescue and concludes with a cliffside fight to the finish between Cassidy and Big Henry.
Boyd was still playing the lead character with a rough edge. He is called “Bill” throughout except for one instance where Ellison calls him “Hoppy”. Heck, Hoppy even has an eye for the ladies in this one. George “Gabby” Hayes had not yet settled into his Windy Halliday character. He played several character roles in the early films of the series, much as he had done in the John Wayne Lone Star series. Here, he plays a good bad guy Spike, Big Henry’s bartender who spends most of the picture trying to roll a cigarette. Hayes doesn’t have his tell tale whiskers in this one, only a drooping moustache with short hair.
This is a good action packed series western which maintained its excellent production values throughout. We believe the Hopalong Cassidy series was the best “B” series ever made.
|Complete credited cast:|
Bill ‘Hop-a-long’ Cassidy
Johnny Nelson (as Jimmy Ellison)
|George ‘Gabby’ Hayes||…|
Bartender Spike (as George Hayes)
Dolores (as Nana Martinez)