Born in Charlottesville, VA, Albert C. Gannaway was not a prolific director and film producer, but his name is inseparable from Westerns. Within the limitations of low budgets, he masterminded some of early Hollywood’s most memorable offerings in this genre, including The Badge of Marshall Brennan (1957), Plunderers of Painted Flats (1959), Man or Gun (1958) and the historical Daniel Boone, Trail Blazer (1957). In Raiders of Lost California (1957) he once again cast his all-time favorite actor Jim Davis and legendary Western baddie Lee Van Cleef - to great effect.
Running Time: 71 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR
1857 - Captain Miguel Sebiastian (Lawrence Dobkin) - Tiger of San Luis - and his men defend their land against the invading American troops led by Angus McKane (Jim Davis) but fall short of success. Three years later, with the war long over, the Mexican homesteaders are in still dire, poverty-stricken straits as McKane and his ruthless band of marauding raiders scourge the land.
Now there is trouble brewing in the newly founded McKaneville - Circuit Judge Ward (Louis Jean Heydt) and his son Marshall Young (Faron Young) arrive to find the town in an upheaval. McKane has effectively abolished law and order, and an endless number of property disputes are the inevitable result. McKane appears to have a legal title over the land previously owned by Miguel Sebastian, but the lawmen suspect foul play - not least of all because of McKane’s murderously insane troubleshooter Pardee (Lee Van Cleef) . Pardee is dispatched to the rancher Scott (Harry Lauter) to warn him of the imminent investigation over the land grant. Johnson has had a burden of guilt over benefiting from an illegal land grab. Despite Purdee’s threat to kill his lovely wife Julie (Arleen Whelan) if he doesn’t cooperate, he comes clean with the lawmen. After being shot by McKane’s gang while on his way to testify against the, and passes on a valuable piece of information. Gunfights and horseback chases galore ensue...
The action continues to Los Cresta, where Miguel Sebastian is found to be alive and able to crack McKane’s game wide open. Attempt to stop Sebastian from reaching court are repeatedly foiled by the fast gun and steel nerves of Marshall Young. Left with no other recourse, McKane is forced to bribe his mercenary gang to fight to the finish. Will justice prevail, or avarice gain the upper hand?
Angus McKane, the greedy and unscrupulous landgrabber, would have gotten away with the establishment of McKaneville in the Mexican part of California. But now Judge Ward and his resourceful son Marshall Young have ridden into town and are looking for the original owner of the land - Don Miguel Sebastian, who has mysteriously disappeared.
McKane’s murderous henchman Purdee is dispatched to foil the investigation by any means. His means boil down to cowardly ambushes and cold-blooded murder, but nothing seems to suffice in throwing the resourceful and lightning-quick Marshall off their trail. With Sebastian finally located and a trail of corpses in their wake, the dauntless lawmen are now faced with the entire McKane gang determined to stop them from bringing him to court for testifying against them. Breathtaking horseback pursuits and chilling shootouts ensue, but the conclusion seems a foregone one - in this one, the Law is sadly outnumbered. Left to rely solely on his quick wits and even quicker Colt, Marshall Young launches an all-or-nothing effort to bring McKane to justice....
"What an absolutely charming and exciting feature film (Raiders of Old California) - but I would expect nothing less from a feature film starring Lee Van Cleef and Jim Davis. It’s such a change from the usual stuff they used to grind out in Hollywood. This one has a REAL story, with REAL performances and breathtaking action. I can watch it endlessly. Great fare, A2ZCDS - keep them coming."
Gwen W. Rodericks (Hampton, Virginia)
"Thank God for great Westerns. My family and I enjoyed Raiders of Old California thoroughly, and I recommend it to all who love good movies. The young Lee Van Cleef is as sinister as he was in his later feature films. It takes an exceptional talent to make such an exciting Western, and there is no doubt that Albert C. Gannaway had it in spades."
Steven Hicks (Beaverton, Oregon)
Faron Young - Marshal Young
Marty Robbins - Voyle
Louis Jean Heydt - Judge Ward
Douglas Fowley - Sheriff
Lawrence Dobkin - Don Miguel Sebastian (as Larry Dobkin)
Bill Coontz - Turk
Don Diamond - Pepe
Rick Vallin - Burt (as Ric Vallon)
Tom Hubbard - producer (as Thomas G. Hubbard)
Tom Hubbard - Emmett
Gerald Mohr - Narrator (uncredited)
Tom Hubbard - Writing Credits
Samuel Roeca - Associate Producer
Charles Straumer - Cinematography
Carl Pingitore- Edit
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