The newspapers never let Bisbee residents forget that a major war was going on right across the border — and even crossed the line at times, such as less than a year earlier at Columbus, N.M. — and so did the movies.
The Bisbee Daily Review reported that one such story, “built around Mexican troubles,” was opening at the Orpheum Theatre at the mouth of Brewery Gulch. It already had shown at the
“Lieutenant Danny, U.S.A,” featuring William Desmond, was one such tale. Lt. Danny Ward, leading a platoon of cavalry patrolling the border, sees a caleche heading furiously toward the Rio Grande, with the Mexican army in hot pursuit. When the pursuers see Ward’s soldiers, they retire, “cursing,” according to the promo.
The wagon’s occupants were Maria Ventura and her daughter (or neice, the article says both), Ysabel Ventura. Maria is a haughty aristocrat, while her daughter is a “far-famed beauty.” They are fleeing Pedro Lopez, “the butcher,” who was a brutal marauder who had once been a peon on Maria’s estate.
(Pancho Villa was once a peon on an estate and earned his chops by killing an aristocrat and then assuming the identity, and name, of a famed marauder, or bandit, in the mountains of Durango and Chihuahua.)
Lt. Danny, of course, falls in love, and the story progresses from there, complete with a firing squad scene and a just-in-time arrival to save the day. As would be expected, the good guys win.
The movie actually was filmed on the border, not in Texas, where it’s supposed to take place, but at Calexico, in California.