A typical low-budget but competently made Columbia Western, The Riding Tornado featured Tim McCoy as a famous rodeo champ who, incognito, wins a supposed killer stallion, Pal, and a purse of 500 dollars in a small town race. Having amicably lost the money in a poker game, Tim is hired by Pal's prior owner, rancher Hiram Olcott (Lafe McKee), to track down a gang of cattle rustlers headed by Hetch Engle (Wheeler Oakman). In between fighting hothead ranch foreman Dick Stark (Wallace MacDonald) for the attention of lovely Patsy Olcott (Shirley Grey), Tim manages to track down Hetch and his gang before they can do more damage. Stark, meanwhile, is heroically killed attempting to stop a stampede, leaving Tim and Patsy free to plan a future together. Vernon Dent, who later menaced the Three Stooges in countless two-reelers, played Hefty, the bartender, a role he had originated in an earlier McCoy effort, Texas Cyclone.
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