John Wayne Westerns
FILMS AROUND THE WORLD'S  John Wayne Western Package consists of a series of fifteen  western feature-length movies which starred John Wayne.  Produced at Monogram Studios, California, between 1933 and 1935, they were released as "Lone Star Westerns."  All starred John Wayne, and included in the casts famed stuntman Yakima Canutt and/or George Hayes.  During the making of this series, Wayne's familiar acting style was developed.  When the viewer shuts his eyes, he hears the familiar John Wayne drawl; when he opens them, he can see the familiar John Wayne walk and mannerisms.  Wayne and Yakima Canutt developed a number of stunts which eventually became part of every western movie.  Equally interesting is the evolution of George Hayes into the early stages of the grizzled prospector/sidekick character that was eventually known worldwide as "Gabby" Hayes.

All of the films in the series were in the public domain, either because they were never registered, or because they were registered and not renewed.  They are widely available from “PD” sources; however, without exception, the quality is extremely low, with most offerings being fourth, fifth, and even later generations of scratched and damaged release prints.  However, as recorded owner of the distribution rights, FATW owns the original negative materials, and used them as the basis for new masters, with materially improved sound and picture quality.  In addition, FATW removed the only music in the original films, which ran briefly at the beginning and end of each feature, and inserted new, original, copyrighted music “themes” (opening, chase, comedy, suspense, and so on) throughout the soundtracks, by Billy Barber, a noted keyboardist and composer.  “He is most noted for the theme song for All My Children in the 1990s as well as keyboardist for the jazz group Film & the BB’s with Jimmy Johnson (bassist) and Bill Berg.  His song “Little Things” has been covered by Ray Charles and The Oak Ridge Boys.  He has composed music for children’s videos, and numerous television and radio series including American Chronicles, Face the Nation and The Splendid Table.  He continues to create music that spans the genres of new age, jazz and fold.  The group known as The Barbers includes Billy and two of his children: Julia and Chris.” .  The new versions  were registered with the Copyright Office in August, 1985.  


The quality of the FATW versions is so superior to the PD versions, that they have been licensed for the U.S. to Sony Video Services, Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video, and Liberty Media (for The Western Channel), and for the U.K. to Turner Broadcasting.  The Liberty Media masters are closed-captioned.


The movie plots are interesting and sometimes complicated, but always end up with the same basic messages:  The good guy wins out in the end, gets the girl, and vanquishes the bad guys.  From time to time, Wayne seems to be the bad guy, but turns out to be an undercover agent, or a look-alike.  At the time these films were made, there were no formal ratings -- all films that could be theatrically distributed to the general public, and these were no exceptions, were the equivalent of what would today be "G" movies.


Following the detailed catalog entries, there are links directly to Amazon.com for the purchase of the Mr. FAT-W Video John Wayne/Lone Star Western DVDs.


BLUE STEEL  (1934)

DAWN RIDER, THE  (1935)
DESERT TRAIL, THE  (1935)
LAWLESS FRONTIER, THE  (1935)
LUCKY TEXAN, THE  (1934)
MAN FROM UTAH, THE  (1934)
‘NEATH THE ARIZONA SKIES (1934)
PARADISE CANYON  (1935)
RANDY RIDES ALONE  (1934)
RIDERS OF DESTINY  (1933)
SAGEBRUSH TRAIL, THE  (1933)
STAR PACKER, THE  (1934)
TEXAS TERROR  (1935)
TRAIL BEYOND, THE  (1934)
WEST OF THE DIVIDE  (1934)



BLUE STEEL  (1934)

C. 15 May 1934 Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4789
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-909
B&W   55 Mins.

Director:      Robert N. Bradbury (as Robert Bradbury)

Writer:         Robert N. Bradbury (story and screenplay, as Robert Bradbury)
Producer:    Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:Archie Stout
Editor:          Carl Pierson
Stunts:          Yakima Canutt, Allen Pomeroy
Music:          Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:            John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, George Cleveland, Elanaor
                      Hunt, Edward Pell Sr., Lafe McKee, Earl Dwire, Silver Tp Baker, Barney Beasley,
                      Hank Bell, Ralph Bucko, Horace B. Carpenter, Fern Emmett, Jack Evans, Herman
                      Hack, Theodore Lorch, Bud McClure, Perry Murdock, George Nash, Herman
                      Nowlin, Artie Ortego, Tex Phelps

"Blue Steel, is not so demanding of Wayne but it shows the same  appealing sense of youthful sincerity that marked the less intense moments of West of the Divide--the likable, gauche manner, awkward but genuine, the sideways smile or open-mouthed grin, the sense of a largely unexplored but real strength of personality. Wayne played the U.S. marshal who sees a robbery and is suspected of being the thief by the sheriff (a tobacco- chewing George Hayes, working towards his later comedy image).  The latter befriends him in the hope of uncovering evidence to use against him, not knowing his true identity. Eleanor Hunt, as Betty Mason, makes a most inept heroine whose father (an uncredited Lafe McKee) is killed off by the villains early in the film. Wayne is featured in some brisk action scenes, riding between two horses, scooping up the heroine after she's fallen off a horse, and taking on two men at a barn, suspending one by his feet from a rope and leaping down on the other--all in the process of dealing with a gang of bandits, organized by a leading citizen, who are trying to deprive a town's inhabitants of their property which extends over a valuable gold vein.  Besides doubling for Wayne in some of the stuntwork, Yakima Canutt appeared as one of the heavies, the Polka Dot Bandit. The conclusion shows Wayne riding off towards the mountains with the girl." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p.40)


IMDb Reviews:


    “When Sheriff Jake sees a man at the safe and then finds the payroll gone, he trails him. Just as he is about to arrest him, the man saves his life. Still suspicious, he joins up with the man and later they learn that Melgrove, the towns leading citizen, is trying to take over the area's ranches by having his gang stop all incoming supply wagons. With the ranchers about to sell to Melgrove, the two newcomers say they will bring in provisions.”

    “U.S. marshal John Carruthers observes a robbery and Sheriff Jake thinks he may be the culprit. Meanwhile the town's leading citizen is planning to rob everybody blind.”

    “Marshal John Carruthers goes undercover to unmask crooked speculators who intend to buy up a supposedly worthless town that actually stands on top of a huge load of gold.”


DAWN RIDER, THE  (1935)

Copyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-904
B&W  53 Mins.    

Director:       Robert N. Bradbury (as R.N. Bradbury)

Writers:        Robert N. Bradbury (screenplay), Lloyd Nosler, Wellyn Totman (story)
Producer:     Paul Malvern
Cinematog.: Archie Stout
Editor:          Carl Pierson
Stunts:          Yakima Canutt, Jack Jones
Music:           Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:             John Wayne, Marion Burns, Yakima Canutt, Reed Howes, Dennis Howes, Joseph
                       De Grasse, Earl Dwire, Nelson McDowell, Chuck Baldra, Bert Dillard, Jack Evans,
                       Herman Hack, Jack Jones, Tex Palmer, Fred Parker, Tex Phelps, Archie Ricks,
                       James Sheridan

"Wayne was John Mason, the Westerner seeking to settle a score with the bandit who robbed an express office and shot down his father.  When Wayne stops a bullet, pretty Alice Gordon (Marion Burns)is on hand to nurse him back to health and she turns out to be the sister of the man (Denny Meadows) he is after."  (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 44)                                          


IMDb Reviews:


    “John Mason is hit with a bullet. Alice who nurses him turns out to be the sister of the man Mason is looking for, the man who gunned down his father.”

    “When John Mason's father is killed, John is wounded. Attracted to his nurse Alice, a conflict arises between him and his friend Ben who plans to marry Alice. John later finds the killer of his father but goes to face him not knowing Ben has removed the bullets from his gun.”

    “This film is a remake of 1931's "Galloping Thru" which was directed by Lloyd Nolser and supervised by Paul Malvern from an original by Wellyn Totman. "The Dawn Trail", produced by Malvern, now gives the original film's director, Nosler, the story credit instead of Totman and rightly giving Nosler a more-correct screenplay credit. And, in 1938, Malvern makes the film again---"Western Trails" with Bob Baker--- and this time Norton S. Parker is given the story credit. Bottom line is Trem Carr and Paul Malvern bought it from Totman in 1931 and gave the Story credit to whoever wrote the screenplay on the two remakes, and writer Wellyn Totman loses two credits rightfully belonging to him. The 1938 remake subs the name "Bob Mason" for "John Mason"(in "The Dawn Trail") and all of the other main character names in "Western Trails" stayed the same. Check it out. The story has John Mason (John Wayne), after several seasons of punching cattle in Texas, coming back home to see his father, agent for the local freight line. He is not, as some summaries show, coming to town to avenge his father's death...his father ain't dead when he hits the city limits. On his way over to see his father, John bumps into Ben McClure (Reed Howes), they have a fight, Ben, a good-hearted fellow, decides the drinks are on him and he and John become fast friends in no time at all. John then decides to amble over to the freight office and call on his father, Dan Mason (Joe De Grasse), and arrives in the midst of a hold-up and the elder Mason is killed. John pursues the robbers and is shot from his horse. Badly wounded, he is taken to his new best-friend's cabin, and is nursed back to health by Ben's sweetheart(although she doesn't know this), Alice Gordon (Marion Burns)and, as Totman's original story and Nosler's swipe would have it, John and Alice fall in love, especially after she saves his life from a gang headed by her brother, Rudd (Dennis Moore as Denny Meadows), who held up the freight station and killed Mason's father. None of which John knows. Recovered, he suspects Ben, who is already miffed because John has stolen his sweetheart, even if neither John nor Alice are aware of Ben's claim. Rudd challenge John to a duel in the street and Ben, played with liquor supplied by Rudd and the gang member saloon owner (Yakima Canutt), goes off and removes the cartridges from John's gun. John picks up his gun and heads for town. John is out in the street, with an empty gun, about to face Rudd, whose gun isn't empty. All three versions of Totman's original story---no matter who was given the remake credit---are among the best(a relative term) of the B-Western genre. Well, in the case of "The Dawn Rider", the reference is to the original B&W Lone Star version, and not to the awful colorized video version that, for some unknown reason, has dubbed voices and a completely unneeded---not to mention bad---musical track added. Make sure and get the original B&W Lone Star version.”


DESERT TRAIL, THE  (1935)

Copyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-910
B&W  57 Mins.   

Director:         Lewis D. Collins (as Cullen Lewis)

Writer:            Lindsley Parsons (story and screenplay)
Producer:       Paul Malvern
Cinematog:    Archie Stout
Editor:             Carl Pierson
Stunts:             Yakima Canutt, Jack Jones, Wally West
Music:              Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:                 John Wayne, Mary Kornman, Paul Fix, Eddy Chandler, Carmen Laroux, Lafe
                          McKee, Al Ferguson, Henry Hall, Silver Tip Baker, Frank Ball, Frank Brownlee,
                         Tommy Coats, Dick Dickinson, Frank Ellis, Jack Evans, Olin Francis, Herman
                         Hack, Ray Henderson, Theodore Lorch, Lew Meehan, Artie Ortego, Tex Palmer,
                         Fred Parker, Archie Ricks, Wally West

"The Desert Trail presented Wayne as a star performer in rodeos called John Scott.  With his gambler friend Kansas Charlie (Eddy Chandler, dispensing the light relief) he is wrongly suspected of having committed a hold- up.  Local feeling against them runs so high that the pair quit town in haste.  They suspect two others (Paul Fix, Al Ferguson) of having framed them and follow the two men to Poker City.  A small complication arises when Wayne takes a shine to a girl (Mary Kornman) who works in a local store and who is the sister of one of the suspects, but Wayne manages to clear his name and retain her affections." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 44)                                       


IMDb Reviews:


    “Rodeo star John Scott and his gambler friend Kansas Charlie are wrongly accused of armed robbery. They leave town as fast as they can to go looking for their own suspects in Poker City.”

    “Just after John Scott gets his rodeo prize money, the Official is robbed and murdered by Pete. Pete then says he just saw John and his friend Kansas Charlie leaving the office. The two fugitives flee to another town where they assume new names. But Pete arrives to point them out and they find themselves in jail. Pete's reluctant accomplice, knowing they are innocent, gets them out and they head after Pete to try and get a confession.”


LAWLESS FRONTIER, THE  (1935)

C. 7 Jan. 1935  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP5243
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-915
B&W  52 Mins.

Director:        Robert N. Bradbury (as R.N. Bradbury)

Writer:           Robert N. Bradbury (story and screenplay) (as R.N. Bradbury)
Producer:       Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:  Archie Stout
Editor:            Charles R. Hunt (as Charles Hunt)
Stunts:            Yakima Canutt, Tommy Coats, Eddie Parker
Music:             Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:               John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Sheila Terry, Jack Rickwell,
                        Jay Wilsey, Gordon De Main, Earl Dwire, Tommy Coats, Herman Hack, Arthur
                        Millett, Artie Ortego, Lloyd Whitlock

"...The Lawless Frontier, cast Wayne as John Tobin with Robert Bradbury directing his own script.  Here Wayne was out to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a Mexican outlaw called Zanti (Earl Dwire, somewhat miscast).  Wayne teams up with Dusty, an oldtimer played by George Hayes (a sympathetic part again) who has also suffered from Zanti's actions and, together with Dusty's daughter (Shiela Terry), they bring the bandit's career to an end." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 42)


IMDb Review:


    “Tobin is after the bandit Zanti who killed his parents. He finds him just as Zanti is about to kill Dusty and kidnap Ruby. Saving the two, he goes after Zanti. He catches him but Zanti escapes the Sheriff's handcuff's and this time Tobin has to chase him into the desert.”



LUCKY TEXAN, THE  (1934)

C. 15 Jan. 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4790
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-905
B&W  55 Mins.

Director:       Robert N. Bradbury

Writer:          Robert N. Bradbury (story and screenplay)
Producer:     Paul Malvern
Cinematog.: Archie Stout
Editor:           Carl Pierson   
Music:            Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:               John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Barbara Sheldon, Lloyd Whitlock, Yakima
                         Canutt, Eddie Parker, Gordon De Main, Earl Dwire (Uncredited: Tommy Costs,
                         Phil Dunham, Jack Evans, John Ince, Julie Kingdon, George Morrell, Artie
                         Ortego,  Tex Palmer, Tex Phelps, John Rockwell, Wally Wales)

"The Lucky Texan starred Wayne as Jerry Mason, the man who comes West after leaving college and joins up with his late father's partner, Jake Benson (George Hayes, in a completely sympathetic part).  The two men stumble across a creek rich in gold, but have to deal with two claimjumpers (played by Lloyd Whitlock and Yakima Canutt)." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 38)

    
IMDb Review:

    “Jerry Mason (Wayne), a young Texan, and Jake Benson (Hayes), an old rancher, become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. They then find their lives complicated by bad guys and a woman.” Written by David J. Kiseleski {davidk269@aol.com}

    “When miners Mason and Benson turn in their gold at the assay office, the assay officials trail Benson back to the mine and shoot him. Mason is then arrested for the murder. But the supposedly dead Benson survived and now plans a surprise for the culprits at Mason's trial.”  Written by Maurice VanAuken {mvanauken@a1access.net}
    
    “Jerry Mason (John Wayne),graduates from college and goes out west, complying with his dying father's last wishes, to live with his father's old partner in the cattle business, Jake Benson(George Hayes.) Jerry finds Jake penniless, his cattle stolen by rustlers, with but one thing to live for, his grand-daughter, Betty (Barbara Sheldon),whom Jake is sending to college. Jerry and Jake open a blacksmith shop in the neighboring town and through a stroke of good luck, a piece of quartz-bearing-gold is removed from the hoof of one of the horses brought in. They find the mine and are successful, but when Jake sells some gold and after depositing the money he is arrested for the attempted murder of banker Williams(Gordon DeMain.)Betty arrives to live with Jake, but before she learns of his whereabouts, Jerry locates the guilty party and Jake is freed. Unwittingly, Jakes signs away his ranch to the man, Harris(Lloyd Whitlock), to whom he is selling his gold and when he refuses to tell the location of the gold mine, he is shot and left to die in the desert. Jerry finds Jake, rescues him and hides him, but Jerry is arrested for the murder of the missing Jake. In order to trap Harris and his men, Jerry says nothing about Jake being alive, as he and Jake have a plan in mind to be sprung at Jerry's trial.” Written by Les Adams {longhorn@abilene.com}



MAN FROM UTAH, THE  (1934)

C. 15 June 1934 Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4800
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-912
B&W  53 Mins.      

Director:        Robert N. Bradbury (as R.N. Bradbury)

Writer:           Lindsley Parsons (story and screenplay)
Producer:      Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:  Archie Stout
Editor:           Carl Pierson
Music:            Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:               John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, George Cleveland, Polly Ann
                        Young, Anita Campillo, Edward Peil Sr., Lafe McKee, Silver Tip Baker, Phil
                        Dunham, Earl Dwire, Sam Garrett, Herman Hack, Bud McClure, Perry Murdock,
                        Artie Ortego, Tex Palmer, Tex Phelps, Archie Ricks

"The Man From Utah opened vigorously with Wayne's John Weston stepping into a fight on the side of the law in a small town but refusing the job of deputy sheriff as he is on his way to deal with a gang who are exploiting a rodeo.  There he enters a horse-riding contest and, urged by the outlaws to lose the race to mutual benefit, he sets out to win after removing a needle coated with deadly snake poison and planted in his saddle.  The rodeo background introduced some variety into the series but Wayne dealt predictably with the outlaws and won the hand of a judge's daughter (Polly Ann Young)." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p.40)


IMDb Reviews:


    “Forget the guitar-strumming opening. This is Wayne at his youthfully charming best, relaxed and easy-going before the pressures of super-stardom and the booze bottle began to show .This is really a rodeo picture with lots of well-integrated footage of calf-roping, bull-dogging, and more, but no gun-play. (Am I wrong or do some of the pageant paraders look like they just staggered out of a saloon.) The baddies are trying to rip-off the town sponsors of the rodeo and only Wayne and the marshal stand in their way. It's fun watching the cantankerous Gabby character trying to break out from Hayes' serious marshal role. Polly Ann Young (Loretta's sister) with a really big smile makes a fetching love interest-- watch Wayne really plant one on her at fade-out. I don't know, but I thought the girl who played the Mexican Delores had a really phony accent. Then I checked the cast and came to find her movie credits are mostly Spanish language productions! Oh well, maybe she don't speak Spanish so good. Anyway, this is average Lone Star fare, mainly for rodeo fans who like seeing a bull's big neck get stretched or a scrawny little calf get thrown to the ground.”
 
    “Even if The Man From Utah looks like a cheap production with its spliced in scenes from a rodeo, it still is a lot of fun to watch. Having been to a rodeo the night before viewing this John Wayne western, the movie was all the more interesting for me. Those old rodeo scenes are exciting because they are real! It is also interesting to compare the calf roping techniques of seventy plus years ago to the way rodeo competitors do it today.
Looking too deep into the story shows its flaws. Flowing with the scenes as they are presented makes viewing easier. What is really missing most is the background of the character, John Weston. We know nothing about him, and for that reason it is odd that the marshal immediately hires him to go undercover at what is suspected to be a fixed rodeo. We know John Wayne is playing a good guy, but when the marshal just says he knew that John Weston is a good guy after having met him minutes before a robbery... that is a bit of a stretch. It is possible that the original story had more depth, but a little more revealing dialog about the character of John Weston would have helped the final product of this movie. At least The Man From Utah was not haphazardly edited together like The Lawless Frontier, leaving some continuity holes to ponder. If you want to see an outstanding performance by George Hayes before he was to become known as "Windy Halliday" or "Gabby Whitaker" this is a great example. Even if Hayes did not have any more screen time than normal, he had perfected what it took to look good on screen by 1934.
In contrast, John Wayne looked good on screen, but in The Man From Utah he sometimes tripped through some of his lines. Usually this is attributed to Wayne's "delivery." Not this time. That in itself is not a bad thing. The more the an actor looked like a genuine cowboy trying to play one in a movie, the better he was liked. Wayne was working through another quickly made low budget production, and he was always improving. The Man From Utah was another stepping stone in John Wayne's path to greatness.”

‘NEATH THE ARIZONA SKIES (1934)

C. 15 Jan. 1935  Monogram Pictures Corp. LP5249
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-895
B&W  54 Mins.  

Director:        Harry L. Fraser (as Harry Fraser)

Writer:           Burl R. Tuttle (story “Gun Glory”) story and writer (as Burl Tuttle)
Producer:      Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:  Archie Stout
Editor:            Charles J. Hung (as Charles Hunt),m Carl Pierson
Stunts:            Yakima Canutt, Eddie Parker, Allen Pomeroy, Jay Wilsey
Music:            Billy Barber (1985 version)     
Cast:               John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Sheila  Terry, Shirley Jean
                         Rickert, Jack Rockwell, Harry L. Fraser, Jay Wilsey, Philip Kieffer, Frank Hakk
                        Crane, Earl Dwire, Billy Franey, Herman Hack, George Morrell, Artie Ortego,
                        Eddie Parker, Tex Phelps, Allen Pomeroy

" 'Neath Arizona Skies presented Wayne as Chris Morrell, the guardian of a half-caste girl, Nina (Shirley Ricketts).  She is the heir to some land rich in oil.  Wayne is helping her to locate her missing father and when bandits attack them Nina escapes and Wayne is left for dead, his clothes exchanged for those of a notorious bank robber.  When heroine Clara Moore (Sheila Terry) discovers him, she believes in his story despite recognizing the clothes as those of a wanted man.  Eventually bandits capture both Clara and Nina but Wayne outwits the gang and calls in a posse to round them up.  The bandit leader manages to take off with Nina leaving Wayne, in time-honored fashion, to set out after him alone and overpower him following a battle in the middle of a river." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 42)

IMDb Review:
    “Chris Morrell, the guardian of half-Indian girl Nina, is helping her find her missing white father. so she can cash in on her late mother's oil lease. Outlaw Sam Black is after the girl and her father as well. Besides dealing with the Black gang, Morrell has to find another robber, Jim Moore, who switches clothes with him after he finds Chris unconscious from a fight with Sam Black. Along the way, he meets a lady who's the sister of Jim Moore, another bad hombre who's in cahoots with Jim Moore, and an old friend who takes in Nina and helps Chris locate Nina's father and fight off the various desperadoes.”


 PARADISE CANYON  (1935)
Copyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-914
B&W  55 Mins.   

Director:        Carl Pierson (as Carl L. Pierson)

Writers:         Lindsley Parsons (story), Robert Emmett Tansey (as Robert Emmett)
Producer:      Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:  Archie Stout
Editor:            Gerald Roberts (as Jerry Roberts)
Stunts:            Yakima Canutt
Music:             Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:               John Wayne, Yakima Canutt, Marion Burns, Earle Hodgins, Gino Corrado, Perry
                         Murdock, Gordon Clifford, Henry Hall, Chuck Baldra, Bob Burns, Horace B.
                         Carpenter, Joe Dominguez, Earl Dwire, John F. Goodrich, Herman Hack, George
                         Morrell, Tex Palmer, Fred Parker, Tex Phelps, James Sheridan

"With the last of the set, Paradise Canyon, Wayne was back to undercover work for the Federal government, playing John Wyatt who is assigned to ferret out a gang of counterfeiters working along the Mexican border.  Doctor Carter (Earle Hodgins) is a prime suspect, so Wayne joins his traveling medicine show, and, along with developing an interest in Carter's daughter (Marion Burns), shows that Carter has been an innocent tool of the real villains, led by the notorious Curly Joe (Yakima Canutt).  With the help of a group of Mexican rurales, Wayne soon brings the culprits to justice."  (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 44)
                                                                  
IMDb Review:

    “John Wayne and a couple of reasonable action scenes are about all that keep this B-Western afloat. The plot is mildly interesting, with Wayne working undercover trying to break up a counterfeiting ring. But it strains credibility a little too often, and the goofy medicine show settings, while occasionally amusing, cause at least one too many groans. The action scenes are OK, thanks to Wayne and Yakima Canutt, who plays the bad guy. Wayne was still progressing as an actor himself, and would later have much more of a screen presence, but he was obviously above most of the material in this movie. The film itself is really only interesting because he was in it, and it gives you reason to be thankful that eventually he was given a chance to move on to better things.”

RANDY RIDES ALONE  (1934)

C. 9 July 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4844
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-913
B&W  53 Mins.

Director:      Harry L. Fraser (as Harry Fraser)

Writer:         Lindsley Parsons (story and screenplay)
Producer:    Paul Malvern
Cinematog: Archie Stout
Editor:          Carl Pierson
Stunts:          Yakima Canutt, Tommy Coats    
Music:           Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:              John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Alberta Vaughn, Earl Dwire,
                       Artie Ortego, Tex Phelps, Horace B. Carpenter, Tommy Coats, Herman Hack,
                      Murdock MacQuarrie, Perry Murdock, Tex Palmer, Mack V. Wright
 
"While Robert N. Bradbury had directed all [of the films in this group] to this point, Wayne's next, Randy Rides Alone, was entrusted to Harry Fraser and this may be the reason that he does deliver some of his lines clumsily in this one.  As the lone rider called Randy Bowers, Wayne is accused of murder and attempted robbery but is released from jail by the trusting heroine, Sally Roberts (Alberta Vaughn), to sort out the real villains, a gang led by a mysterious figure who spends most of the time masquerading as one of the townsfolk, Matt the Mute.  Played by George Hayes, this cunning character has padded his figure to pass himself off as a hunchback and is prone to impede the progress of the film no end by laboriously writing out messages that, except for his disguise, he could perfectly well speak.  The film is slackly shot and edited but I like the moment when Wayne stumbles into the secret lair of the villains behind a waterfall.  They want to know how he got there.  'I fell in!' snaps the soaking-wet Wayne, as though daring them  to make something out of it.  Who does he work for, they ask.  'Nobody,' he replies brusquely, adding (to justify the film's title) 'I ride alone.' Wayne's walk in this film has a lazy air of increasing confidence, and he is seen twirling his six-shooter with professional ease before taking aim at the portrait on a wanted poster and shooting out the eyes to demonstrate his marksmanship...." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 40)


IMDb Reviews:


    “Accused of murder and robbery, Randy is released from jail to the custody of Sally Rogers so he can find the real badguys. He finds their secret hideout behind a waterfall.”
    “Randy is jailed for murders he didn't commit. Knowing he is innocent, Sally Rogers breaks him out. Fleeing the Sheriff, he stumbles into the murderers hideout where he is accepted as part of the gang. Learning of the bosses secret identity by comparing handwritten notes, he has a plan that will enable the Sheriff to round them all up.”


RIDERS OF DESTINY  (1933)

C. 22 Jan. 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4427
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-903
B&W  52 Mins.

Director:      Robert N. Bradbury

Writer:         Robert N. Bradbury (story, as R.N. Bradbury)
Producer:    Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:Archie Stout
Editor:          Carl Pierson
Stunts:          Yakima Canutt, Jack Jones, Eddie Barber
 Music:          Billy Barber (1985 version)       
Cast:               John Wayne, George “Gabby” Hayes, Al. St. John, Ceceilia Parker, Forrest Taylor,
                        Heinie Conklin, Yakima Canutt, Earl Dwire, Lafe McKee, Addie Foster, Silver Tip
                        Baker, Horace B. Carpenter, William Dyer, Fern Emmett, Si Jenks, Bert Lindley,
                        Herman Nowlin, Tex Palmer, Hal Price

"Monogram [Pictures Corp.] initially broached the idea of making Wayne a singing cowboy and created the character of 'Singin' Sandy' Saunders for the first of the batch, Riders of Destiny.  There had been songs in westerns previously--in some of the early sound Ken Maynard pictures line Sons of the Saddle (1930) and also in such big-budget specials as In Old Arizona (1929)--but it was a novel addition for such cheap pictures as Monogram planned.  It presented one major difficulty.  Wayne could not sing.  His own limited baritone wouldn't do and so he merely mouthed the words of his songs while singer Smith Ballew loaned his voice out of camera range.  Even Wayne's apparent guitar-playing was provided by an expert off-screen.  The results, seen today, are somewhat hilarious as Wayne walks along facing the camera with a look of strained nonchalance on his features as a completely inappropriate voice mumbles a song about how 'There'll be blood a-running in town before night' and a bystander mercifully interrupts the warbling to point him out as 'Singin' Sandy--the most notorious gunman since Billy the Kid!'  Wayne must have been much happier living up to that description in an archetypal main street shootout with the lean, mean figure of Slip Morgan (Earl Dwire), forcefully delivering the line 'Make it fast, Slippery, this is your last draw!' What finally put paid to Monogram's musical hopes was Wayne's acute embarrassment when he made some personal appearances only to be met with his fans' demands that he should regale them with a rendering of 'The Desert Song' and other favorites.  He protested to the studio and--apart from briefly 'singing' at the start of The Man From Utah and in Westward Ho--his days as a threat to the likes of Bing Crosby were over with the release of Riders of Destiny.  (Shortly afterwards, the same studio recruited the leading hillbilly recording artist, Gene Autry, and made him into a cowboy singer with immensely profitable results.)


"In Riders of Destiny, however 'notorious' he seemed, Wayne was really a government man working undercover.  He drifts into a small town where the local ranchers are being victimized by Kincaid (Forrest Taylor) who controls the water supply and is out to take over their land.  Somewhat appropriately, Kincaid ends up being drowned and Wayne's Singin' Sandy is rewarded for his triumph over the villains by gaining the love of one of Kincaid's intended victims (Cecilia Parker)."  (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 37)


IMDb Reviews:


    “Badguy Kincaid controls the local water supply and plans to do in the other ranchers. Government agent Saunders shows up undercover to do in Kincaid and win the heart of one of his victims Fay Denton.”

    “Kincade controls the area's water supply and is about to force the ranchers into contracts at exorbitant rates. Government Agent Saunders has a plan that will open up the lost river and dry up Kincade's supply. So he gets the ranchers to insist on a clause that Kincade's land will revert to the public if he fails to deliver water.”


SAGEBRUSH TRAIL, THE  (1933)

C. 1 Dec. 1933  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4406
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-906
B&W  53 Mins.    

Director:       Armand Schaefer

Writers:         Lindsley Parsons and Will Beale (story), Lindsley Parsons (screenplay)
Producer:      Paul Malvern
Exec.Prod.:   Trem Carr
Cinematog:   Archie Stout
Editor:            Carl Pierson
Stunts:            Yakima Canutt, Jack Jones, Eddie Parker
Music:             Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:               John Wayne, Lane Chandler, Nancy Shubert, Wally Wales, Lane Chandler,
                         Yakima Canutt, Henry Hall, Art Mix, Bob Burns, Ted Adams, Silver Tip Baker,
                         Hank Bell, William Dyer, Julie Kingdon, Tex Phelps, Hal Price, Archie Ricks,
                         Robert Walker, Blackjack Ward, Slim Whitaker

"The [second film in the series] Sagebrush Trail, presents Wayne as the cowboy wrongly imprisoned on a murder charge who escapes from jail and joins up with some desperadoes, hoping to run across the real killer.  He befriends a member of the gang, Bob Jones (Lane Chandler), not knowing that Jones is the man he is seeking.  Jones, however, suspects him and, being jealous of his interest in a girl (Nancy Shubert), decides to expose Wayne's John Brant to the gang.  However, the girl shows him how Wayne has been a loyal friend, and, Jones saves Wayne at the cost of his own life."(John Wayne, Allen Eyles,1979,p.37)


IMDb Reviews:


    “Imprisoned for a murder he did not commit, John Brant escapes and ends up out west where, after giving the local lawmen the slip, he joins up with an outlaw gang. Brant finds out that 'Jones', one of the outlaws he has become friends with, committed the murder that Brant was sent up for, but has no knowledge that anyone was ever put in jail for his crime. Willing to forgive and forget, Brant doesn't realize that 'Jones' has not only fallen for the same pretty shopgirl Brant has, but begins to suspect that Brant is not truly an outlaw.”

    “John Brant escapes jail after being wrongly accused of murder then joins a gang hoping to find the real killer. The real killer happens to be a member of the gang and he suspects Brant is up to no good.”


STAR PACKER, THE  (1934)

C. 15 Aug. 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP5280
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-911
B&W  53 Mins.    

Director:         Robert N. Bradbury (as R.N. Bradbury)

Writer:            Robert N. Bradbury (story and screenplay, as R.N. Bradbury)
Producer:        Paul Malvern
Cinematog.:    Archie Stout
Editor:             Carl Pierson
Music:              Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:                John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Vernie Hillie, Billy Franey,
                          Eddie Parker, Earl Dwire, Thomas G. Lingham (Uncredited: Davie Aldrich, Frank
                          Ball, George Cleveland, Arthur Millett, Artie Ortego, Tex Palmer, Glenn Strange)

"Back under Bradbury's direction [after one film directed by Harry Fraser] Wayne is in better form generally in his next, The Star Packer, but finds it difficult when he has to pause to think out a point, his features overdoing the effort of thought and the dawning of the answer; he is also rather less than forceful when, as sheriff, he issues orders to the townsmen.  Wayne is first seen riding into town as John Travers and learning of the trouble caused by a gang working for a figure known only as The Shadow.  Matlock, a leading citizen (played by George Hayes) in effect denounces himself when he complains of the gang's activities because he is in reality the criminal mastermind.  Wayne, eyes narrowing to a squint, looks around and declares 'If it's just the same with you folks, I'll take the job of sheriff'; there are no objections and he sets about exposing the villains.  The action climax is quite vigorously staged and lavish for this series with over twenty players on the screen at the same time.  Quite apart from the double identity (more borrowed from the world of serials than a standard Western device), the villain also has a secret tunnel under main street which ends in a phoney-looking tree trunk most improbably located in the road.  For a change, Yakima Canutt appears as Yak, a friendly Indian, who is seen at the fade-out teaching a young boy some native tricks watched by an amused Wayne and heroine (Verna Hillie)." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 40)


IMDb Review:


    “John Travers is a U.S. marshal who, along with his Indian assistant Yak, are looking for some wanted criminals somewhere in the untamed West. Posing as the Lone Rider, Travers appears to rob a stagecoach; however, he is only setting up a sting where he can prevent the actual robbery and capture a pair of highwaymen. In the process he also rescues the attractive young female occupant of the stagecoach, who happens to be the niece of a town leader. When Travers arrives in town with the injured stage driver and the young lady, the citizens come out to see what is happening. In the group is Al Davis, who has that same day just been named the new sheriff of the town. While the townfolks are talking to Travers a sniper kills Davis on the spot. Travers does not reveal he is a U.S. marshal, however he volunteers to be their sheriff. Travers rides out to recover the money he "stole" earlier. Meanwhile an unseen bad guy known as the Shadow gives his henchmen orders from a secret room, communicating through a hole in the wall disguised as a safe. They are assigned to do away with Sheriff Travers. Between the hero and his sidekick Yak, they keep one step ahead of the bad guys, repeatedly foiling their attempts to murder our lawman. Travers and Yak eventually locate a mountain hideout that contains numerous hardened fugitives whose activities are orchestrated by the Shadow.
    The Shadow is Matt Matlock, a town leader who all believe to be a decent person. In fact he is not even really Matt Matlock, but a criminal who sometime recently killed a rancher named Matt Matlock and assumed his identity. Matlock's niece Anita, the girl rescued earlier in the stagecoach, whose father was Matt Matlock's brother and co-owner of the ranch, came to town to see the ranch she inherited a 50% share in after her father's death. Unbeknownst to her, her father was also killed by the Shadow. Having never seen her uncle she does not know the man she is staying with is a criminal. Shadow/Matlock tries to carry out the charade of kindly uncle, but at the same time arranges some disturbances at night, such as a fiendish face at the window and a man in a bear costume, to scare away Miss Matlock. She doesn't scare easily, though, and takes a potshot at the prowlers, quickly ending their pranks.

“Travers and Yak discover the secret room from which the Shadow conducts his business in town, as well as a hollowed out tree stump that served as the hideout for the earlier sniper. This greatly helps them bring their investigation to the point where Travers reveals who he really is, and swears in a bunch of local ranchers as deputies to form a legal posse and go after the Shadow gang. Meanwhile Matlock's old cook tells Anita that the man she thinks is her uncle is a murderous imposter. She rides off toward town to break the news, but is captured by the gang on the way. The gang has acquired a machine gun, and they all head out to do away with Travers and his do-gooders. A prolonged chase and shootout ensues. The surviving members of the Shadow gang are all justly captured.


“Travers and Anita have been making eyes at each other throughout the story, and the epilogue reveals that they fall in love, get married and live on the ranch with Yak, and raise a family.”



TEXAS TERROR  (1935)

C. 8 Feb. 1935  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP5367
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-902
B&W  54 Mins.    

Director:       Robert N. Bradbury (as R.N. Bradbury)

Writer:          Robert N. Bradbury (story, as R.N. Bradbury)
Producer:     Paul Malvern
Cinematog.: William Hyer, Archie Stout
Editor:           Carl Pierson
Stunts:           Yakima Cannutt, Jack Jones, Eddie Parker
Music:           Billy Barber (1985 version)    
Cast:             John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Lucille Browne, Leroy Mason, Fern Emmett,
                       Jay Wilsey, John Ince, Henry Roquemore, Jack Duffy, Frank Ball, Bert Dillard,
                       Julia Griffith, Jack Jones, Bobby Nelson, Bert O’Hara, Artie Ortego, George Ovey,
                       Tex Palmer, Tex Phelps, Bud Pope

"In Texas Terror, Wayne was the young sheriff who believes that he has killed his best friend by accident during a shootout with a band of bank robbers.  Filled with remorse, he surrenders his badge to go and dedicate himself to the solitary life of the prospector.  However, he comes across the dead man's sister (Lucille Brown) who has been in a stagecoach hold-up and rounds up the robbers.  He then starts to help the girl run her ranch until she learns about his past and it takes Wayne's discovery that Joe Dickson (LeRoy Mason) was really responsible for her brother's death to set matters straight." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 42)


IMDb Review:


    “Sheriff John Higgins quits and goes into prospecting after he thinks he has killed his best friend in shooting it out with robbers. He encounters his dead buddy's sister and helps her run her ranch. Then she finds out about his past.”

TRAIL BEYOND, THE  (1934)

C. 15 Sept. 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP5281
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-908
B&W  57 Mins.

Director:        Robert N. Bradbury (as Robert Bradbury)

Writers:         James Oliver Curwood (novel “The Wold Hunters”), Lindsley Parsons (screenplay)
Producer:       Paul Marlvern
Cinematog.:   Archie Stout
Editor:            Charles R. Hunt (as Charles Hunt)
Stunts:            Yakima Canutt, Eddie Parker   
Music:             Billy Barber (1985 version)     
Cast:                John Wayne, Noah Beery (as Noah Beery, Sr.), Noah Beery, Jr., Verna Hillie,
                          Robert Frazer, Iris Lancaster, James A. Marcus, Eddie Parker, Earl Dwire, Artie
                          Ortego, Tex Palmer

"All the preceding films [in this series] were based on original scripts, but The Trail Beyond was actually  drawn from a novel The Wolf Hunters by a popular author of stories about the North-West, James Oliver Curwood, making this something of a special for the series with the increased costs of acquiring the novel's rights and other changes that result.  The most noticeable is the more impressive background of timber country with snowy mountains in the far distance and vigorous winds.  But the director is still Robert Bradbury and the plot creaks with the usual contrivances.  Wayne plays Rod Drew who helps his half-breed college chum Wabi (Noah Beery Jr.) escape from the clutches of some cardsharps on a train journey.  When they try to frame the death of one of the card players on Wabi, Wayne and the half- breed leap from the train into a river as it crosses a bridge.  Wayne has been on his way to find a missing girl, and, while fleeing from a posse with Wabi, quickly (and coincidentally) stumbles on the trail that will eventually lead him to her when he discovers two skeletons in a shack and a map which shows a hidden gold mine.  A bunch of villains try to get hold of the map, but Wayne pitches in to stop them kidnaping a girl who knows the combination of the safe in which it has been deposited at the store run by Newsome (Noah Beery Sr.).  Captured by the gang, Wayne escapes when left alone by knocking a candle in a glass holder to the ground and cutting the ropes binding him with the broken glass.  A canoe chase follows with Wayne dropping into the water to deal with the villains pursuing him, then rushing along the bank to pull a wounded Mountie clear of a canoe before it can crash over a waterfall.  As the gang are massing to attack the Newsome store and gain the map, Wayne  rides off to bring help from a Mountie post and returns in time to scatter the villains and go after their leader Jules LaRocque (Robert Frazer), dislodging him from a buckboard and rolling down a hillside.  Just as La Rocque has a chance to knife Wayne in the back, the Mountie arrives to repay Wayne for saving his life earlier by shooting the villain.  Wabi's innocence is now established and he is last seen waving as Wayne and Newsome's daughter Felice (Verna Hillie) take a canoe trip on a lake together, accompanied by the usual fadeout burst of music.


"Besides the improvement over the usual nondescript scenery, the film offers the novelty of canoes being used in place of horses for transport and chases.  The photography even aspires to one or two striking shots of sunlight streaming through the trees as LaRocque's men fire on the store at the climax, and clearly there was an extended schedule allowing more than the usual number of camera set-ups.  There is a well above average number of extras riding in the climactic scenes and more stuntwork with horses than usual--a number of falls rather isolated from the rest of the action in the climax, and earlier two dives on horseback into a river from a height, one shown from above, the other from the side (perhaps the same stunt with two cameras).  These benefits seemed to have impressed contemporary viewers but [the film] is too underdeveloped in characterization and too weakly plotted to rise more than marginally above the general standard of the series and whatever the reason for splashing out on this occasion, it was a once-only move and the series promptly settled down into its customary modest groove." (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 41)


IMDb Reviews:


    “Rod Drew has been sent to find a missing miner and his daughter. He is joined by old friend Wabi whom he has to rescue from card cheats that framed him for murder. Later they find a skeleton and a map to a mine. When they put the map into a safe, a LaRocque henchman sees them. LaRocque wants the map and captures the Mountie sent to get Wabi. His man then dressed as the Mountie captures Rod and Wabi.”

    “In timber country with a snowy mountain backdrop, Rod Drew saves college pal Wabi from cardsharps on a train. He finds two skeletons in a shack and a map leading to a gold mine. Others want that mine as well.”


WEST OF THE DIVIDE  (1934)

C. 1 Feb. 1934  Monogram Pictures Corp.  LP4689
Recopyrighted 21 August 1985 by Fox/Lorber Associates, Inc.-
    Classics Associates, Inc. Joint Venture  PA266-907
B&W  54 Mins.    

Director:         Robert N. Bradbury

Writers:          Robert N. Bradbury (story and screenplay), Oliver Drake (story)
Producer:        Paul Malvern
Cinematog:    Archie Stout
Editor:             Carl Pierson
Stunts:              Yakima Canutt, Jack Jones, Eddie Parner
Music:               Billy Barber (1985 version)   
Cast:                  John Wayne, George "Gabby" Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Virginia Brown Faire (as
                           Virginia Faire Brown), Lloyd Whitlock, Lafe McKee, Billy O’Brien, Dick
                           Dickinson, Earl Dwire, Horace B. Carpenter, Phillip Kieffer, Artie Ortego, Tex
                            Palmer, Archie Ricks, Wally Wales, Blackie Whiteford

"West of the Divide was the fourth of the series, and the best of several viewed in the writing of this book.  It is revealing to find in Wayne's performance moments of the same intensity of feeling as he brought to later work.  In a sequence near the start, he is seen hunkered at a camp, his eyes narrowed and fixed on the far distance, as he recalls for his sidekick (George Hayes) the time when he was left for dead as a youth alongside the body of his murdered father.  It's a long monologue, delivered not flatly but with variations of tone, Wayne's voice hardening as he says:  "And then somebody laughed...I'll never forget that laugh...it was the laugh of a crazy man.'  (Not unexpectedly, it is a laugh he is soon to hear again!)  Later on, when Wayne says a quite ordinary line, "I've seen that fella somewhere... but I can't think when,' he draws out the last five words a little as though searching his memory as he speaks, avoiding a straightforward reading that would have been sufficient.  Still later, he fights a bully after witnessing his ill-treatment of a boy (who later turns out to be his long-lost brother), and a muscle twitches in his cheek as he concludes by warning:  "If you ever whip that kid again, I'll break every bone in your carcass!'  I don't mean to suggest that Wayne was giving a startlingly good performance, only that he was clearly a working actor, making the  most of his lines instead of just reading them, and building up a useful reservoir of technique for later use.

                                                                   
"In West  of the Divide Wayne gains the confidence of the villain Gentry (Lloyd Whitlock) by assuming the identity of a wanted outlaw and joining his gang.  After saving an elderly ranch owner (Lafe McKee) from the attentions of the badmen, he is able to confront Gentry as the murderer of his father.  Repeating his grim memories of that childhood incident, he concludes ominously, '...but I lived, lived to even up the score!'  And he does just that in an elaborate indoor fight, himself visibly performing a backward somersault, the fracas ending with Gentry being


knocked right through a large paned window.  Though strong in action, our hero is hesitant in love, and it takes his kid brother (Billy O'Brien) to propose for him to the rancher's daughter (Virginia Brown Faire)."  (John Wayne, Allen Eyles, 1979, p. 38)


IMDb Review:


    “Ted Hayden impersonates a wanted man and joins Gentry's gang only to learn later that Gentry was the one who killed his father. He saves Virginia Winters' dad's ranch from Gentry and also rescues his long-lost brother Spud.”
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