Kit Carson and the Mystery Riders

In 1952 there was only one channel to watch and that was BBC. During that year in the children’s Hour slot we had this Kit Carson serial which had been imported from America and was actually produced in the mid 30’s there under the name ‘Fighting with Kit Carson’

This was thrilling to us youngsters – so exciting and finishing each episode with a cliff-hanger leaving us desperately waiting for the thrillng next episode.

I have just acquired a copy of Film Director William Witney’s Autobiography and this is a film series that he worked on in his very early days in films – in fact the very first one that he worked on up at the famous Iverson Ranch.

Such was the flexibility of working practices at the time that he even had to appear in a cloak as one of the Mystery Riders .


Army scout Kit Carson (John Mack Brown) is ordered to transport a government gold shipment through Indian territory; however, among the frontiersmen recruited to assist him are several undercover members of the Mystery Riders, a ruthless outlaw band. These infiltrators kill the other gold-guards while Carson is off dealing with hostile Indians, but lose the gold itself when one surviving guard, Matt Fargo (Edmund Breese), escapes with it and hides it somewhere in the wilds.

Reynolds (Al Bridge), one of the secret Riders, tells the Army that Kit Carson was behind the massacre of the guards and the theft of the gold, forcing the scout to become a fugitive; to clear his name, he sets out to locate the gold and deal with the Mystery Riders, assisted by Fargo’s young daughter Joan (Betsy King Ross) and by Nakomas (Noah Beery Jr.), a Cheyenne chieftain whose father was murdered on the orders of the Mystery Riders’ leader.

That leader is Cyrus Kraft (Noah Beery Sr.), an outwardly honest trading-post proprietor who is determined to keep settlers out of “his” fur-trapping country, and who is equally determined to get his greedy hands on the missing gold shipment.

Like most Mascot serials, Kit Carson is filled with strong action scenes–most of them centred around the excellent stunt work of Yakima Canutt, who doubles for Johnny Mack Brown throughout the film – and because of the amount of action, he had plenty to do

Fighting With Kit Carson--riders and scenery 1
Fighting With Kit Carson--riders and scenery 2

Above, top left: Indians riding on a raid. Top right: John Mack Brown and Noah Beery Jr. race up a hillside.

Fighting with Kit Carson makes for extremely enjoyable viewing, it has excellent action, first-rate cinematography, a good hero, and a great villain.

Fighting With Kit Carson--last


Fighting With Kit Carson--team leap
Fighting With Kit Carson--guardhouse fight

Above left: Yakima Canutt (doubling Johnny Mack Brown) prepares to leap from one pair of galloping horses to another. BELOW Edward Hearn and John Mack Brown grapple for a knife during their Chapter Eleven fight.

Fighting With Kit Carson--riders and scenery 3
Fighting With Kit Carson--riders and scenery 4
Fighting With Kit Carson--canyon hunt
Fighting With Kit Carson--rigged gun

Above: The Mystery Riders are on the verge of discovering Brown’s hiding place (Top picture), until a gun previously rigged by the hero goes off just in time.

Fighting With Kit Carson--knife cliffhanger 1
Fighting With Kit Carson--knife cliffhanger 2

Above: Top Picture Noah Beery Sr. starts tossing his pocket-knife around while talking to Johnny Mack Brown –a signal to henchman Maston Williams (Bottom Picture) to throw his own knife into Brown’s back.

We then had to wait for the next episode – Will Kit survive ??

Fighting With Kit Carson--Betsy King Ross
Fighting With Kit Carson--Noah Beery Jr

Above TOP: Betsy King Ross saddles up to go to Brown’s aid.

BELOW that : Noah Beery Jr. prepares to climb up the side of a barn.

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