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(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, from L-to-R are Emmett Lynn, Lash LaRue, Charlie King and Eddie Dean in a lobby card from CARAVAN TRAIL (PRC, 1946), one of Dean's Cinecolor westerns.  Note the all black outfit on LaRue who no longer has the white neckerchief and white piping on his shirt as he wore in SONG OF OLD WYOMING



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, from L-to-R are Black Jack O'Shea, Lash LaRue, Charlie King, Eddie Dean and Emmett Lynn in another lobby card from CARAVAN TRAIL (PRC, 1946).


He returned to the cast in Eddie Dean's third starring color film, CARAVAN TRAIL (1946), again starting out as a badman but reforming early on to become one of Eddie's deputies.  This time, he dressed entirely in black, neckerchief and all, but he did not carry a bullwhip.  His character, named Cherokee, has a couple of disreputable henchmen played by veteran heavies Charles King (showing a comic flair) and Jack O'Shea.  In the finale, he is again disarmed but still walks down the street to face outlaws who, he has learned, killed his brother.  Eddie Dean tosses him a rifle as the shootout starts, and this time his character survives.

In his third and last outing with Dean, WILD WEST (1946), LaRue has the bullwhip back with his black outfit and has been elevated to the status of a lawman along with Dean and comic sidekick Roscoe Ates.  In one scene, they (their doubles) rush from a building and do a triple trooper mount over the backs of their horses before riding off.  They play rangers helping an engineer string a telegraph line across Indian territory, and both Dean and LaRue have romances with the daughters of a lady rancher (Sarah Padden again) in between the action sequences.  LaRue, as Stormy Day, uses his whip to snap up some flowers for one of them. LaRue actually has more action than Dean, including two fights where he uses the whip to good effect in disarming his opponents and pulling them off perches.  (In 1948, WILD WEST was released in a black and white version titled PRAIRIE OUTLAWS, with a few added early scenes with Dean and Ates, and some cuts in the later romantic scenes.)

PRC ended its color films at that point, and gave Dean and LaRue each their own starring series.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Alfred 'Fuzzy' St. John
LaRue got a new sidekick, Al St. John, a former Keystone Kop who had been honing his "Fuzzy Q. Jones" character with a variety of cowboy actors, most recently at PRC with Bob Steele (in his Billy the Kid series) and then with Buster Crabbe (who replaced Steele in the Billy the Kid/later Billy Carson films).

"Fuzzy was an angel unaware, as far as I'm concerned", said LaRue.  "He was a wonderful guy, and I wish he were still here to see how long the films had lasted ... he was the greatest ad lib artist in the world.  He could stumble over a matchstick and spend fifteen exciting minutes looking for what he stumbled over."

"He would talk about Fuzzy as a separate person", LaRue recalled.  "Hey, that would be something for Fuzzy to do," he would say about a bit of comedy business.

LaRue, who later went through a drinking problem of his own, recalled Fuzzy having had one and said he couldn't understand why.  "Then I met his wife", LaRue said.  "And then I understood."  "He and Fuzzy became friends, but not at first", LaRue noted.  The change came one day when Fuzzy told him, "Hey, I wasn't gonna like you.  But you're all right".



(From Old Corral image collection)
 

(From Old Corral image collection)


Lash also added a black horse to go with his black outfit, a steed named "Black Diamond". The story goes that Lash wanted to rename the hoss to "Rush". Thus, Rush and Black Diamond were the same horse..


The first movie pairing of LaRue and St. John was LAW OF THE LASH (1947), followed by BORDER FEUD (1947), at which point PRC gave way to Eagle-Lion.  Lash appeared in a couple of non-westerns for the studio, HEARTACHES (1947) and THE ENCHANTED VALLEY (1948), the latter in Cinecolor, but the rest of his work at the studio was in westerns.

In his first one, he and Fuzzy play a couple of miners (even though Lash's spotless black outfit and two fancy guns hardly looked like clothing for mining) who get involved with nailing some outlaws.  In the others, Lash played a U.S. marshal named Cheyenne Davis, who would occasionally use the Cheyenne Kid guise (dating back to his first movie with Eddie Dean) to pretend to be an outlaw and infiltrate the gang.

Next came PIONEER JUSTICE, GHOST TOWN RENEGADES, RETURN OF THE LASH, CHEYENNE TAKES OVER, FIGHTING VIGILANTES (all 1947), and STAGE TO MESA CITY (1948) along with the re-edited WILD WEST/PRAIRIE OUTLAWS.



(Courtesy of Minard Coons)
 

(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is the title lobby card from STAGE TO MESA CITY (PRC, 1948).


Left is the pressbook cover from PIONEER JUSTICE (PRC, 1948), one of Lash's better sagebrush adventures.



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