Wild Horse Phantom is a 1944 American Producers Releasing Corporation Western film of the "Billy the Kid" series directed by Sam Newfield. It stars Buster Crabbe and Al "Fuzzy" St. John.
The film begins with a breakout of five inmates from a modern day prison. Watching the escape with the warden is Billy Carson who has engineered the break. Carson has the idea that he will trail the leader of the escapees, Link Daggett in order to recover the missing money from a bank robbery. The robbery caused an entire community to lose their savings and face financial ruin. Carson and Fuzzy trail Daggett's gang to the Wild Horse Mine where Daggett may have hidden the loot. Inside the mine Daggett can not find the money. Billy and Fuzzy have to face not only the gang, but a maniac acting like a ghost as well as a giant bat.
Tropes in Wild Horse Phantom:
- Bat Out of Hell: Fuzzy gets attacked by an enormous Dire Bat while roaming the mine tunnels. He responds by biting it.
- Evil Laugh: Ed Garnet has one that he uses as part of his "Scooby-Doo" Hoax. It echoes eerily through the mine tunnels, and one of the gang describes it as 'not human'.
- Failed a Spot Check: Link Daggett and his gang somehow fail to notice Billy Carson and Fuzzy, despite them sitting on horseback in the open about 20 feet away from them, while the gang is riding towards them.
- In the Back: Daggett shoots Tom in the back when he decides to abandon the escape attempt and return to prison to serve out his sentence.
- Last Breath Bullet: Daggett shoots his henchman Kallen before trying to escape. Kallen in Not Quite Dead and staggers to the entrance to the mine where Daggett and Carson are fighting. Just as Daggett is about to smash carson's head in with a rock, Kallen shoots him dead and then expires.
- Luck-Based Search Technique: Fuzzy is roaming the mine tunnels when he picks up a pick to defend himself. he stumbles and buries the point of pick in the wall. When he pulls it out, he discovers the stolen cash Daggett and his gang have been searching for.
- A MacGuffin Full of Money: Both Daggett and Carson are after the $50,000 Daggett and his gang stole from the Piedmont bank.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: Clipp Walters, the banker of Piedmont, is using the bank robbery as an excuse to foreclose on all of the local ranches.
- New Old West: The film begins with a breakout from a modern prison where the guards are armed with Tommy guns, and the convicts hijack a car in order to escape. However, they swap the car for horses to get to the mine and from this point on the film could be set The Wild West. Even the scenes in the town of Piedmont show no cars or other modern contrivances.
- Oddball in the Series: This is the only film the 45 film Billy the Kid series that is set in the present day.
- Powerful Pick: Fuzzy picks up a pick to defend himself while he is wandering the mine tunnels. However, he gets it stuck in the wall before he can use it as a weapon.
- Prospector: Ed Garnet is a grizzled old coot who pretends to be a ghost to drive outsiders away from his mine.
- "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Cantankerous old prospector Ed Garnet attempts to scare people away from his mine by pretending to be a ghost.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When Tom expresses reservations about the plan, Dagget tells him he's free to return to prison if he wants. Tom decides to take him up on the offer and rides off. Daggett then shoots him in In the Back.
- Squirrels in My Pants: At the end of the film, Billy and Fuzzy are about to leave the bank when Fuzzy starts going berserk: leaping all over the room and howling. Billy eventually manages to pin him down and the reason for his distress is revealed; he has a baby bat trapped inside his shirt.