skip navigation
Renegades of the West

Renegades of the West(1932)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

Renegades of the West (1932)

The actor best remembered as Tom Keene actually worked in movies under three names. First was George Duryea, his birth name, which he used for his first few films including the one that gave him his big break: The Godless Girl (1929), directed by Cecil B. De Mille. The same year, he made Tide of Empire (1929), his first western, the genre that would forever define him. After a few more pictures at various studios, he signed a contract with RKO and changed his screen name to Tom Keene, immediately going to work on a dozen B westerns over the next three years. All were routine yet well-photographed and satisfying. One of them was Renegades of the West (1932).

Based on a 1921 short story entitled The Miracle Baby that had previously been filmed under that title in 1923, starring Harry Carey, Renegades deals with cattle rustlers, a man seeking revenge for his father's death, and, yes, an adopted baby. Variety was lukewarm: "Tom Keene is satisfying..., while [leading lady] Betty Furness has little to do."

This was the only feature ever directed by Casey Robinson. He had previously directed a handful of musical and comedy short subjects, but was best known as a writer. Later in his career, in fact, he would claim some important films to his credit as a screenwriter, including Captain Blood (1935), Dark Victory (1939), Kings Row (1942), Now, Voyager (1942), Passage to Marseille (1944), and While the City Sleeps (1956).

Following his RKO westerns, Tom Keene starred for King Vidor in the classic Our Daily Bread (1934) before returning to the world of B westerns -- including some good titles for Monogram such as God's Country and the Man (1937). After two years off for a stint as Honorary Mayor of Sherman Oaks, Calif., Keene resumed his career with another round of westerns before rechristening himself "Richard Powers." Under that name, he took on much smaller roles as a character actor at several studios, sometimes in major films, though he also made a 12-part western serial for Republic called Desperadoes of the West (1950). He used the moniker "Tom Keene" again on his final film, Ed Wood's infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959).

By Jeremy Arnold

Victoria Balloon and Bob Campbell, "A Bijou Flashback: The Three Faces of Cowboy Star Tom Keene,"
Buck Rainey, Serial Film Stars: A Biographical Dictionary, 1912-1956

back to top