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|DESERT TRAIL, THE (director: Cullin Lewis; screenwriter: Lindsley Parsons/story br Mr. Parsons; cinematographer: Louis Clyde Stouman; editor: Carl Pierson; music: William Barber--added in 1985; cast: John Wayne (John Scott/John Jones), Mary Kornman (Anne), Paul Fix (Jim), Eddy Chandler (Kansas Charlie/Rev. Harry Smith), Carmen Laroux (Juanita LaRoux), Lafe McKee (Sheriff Barker), Al Ferguson (Pete), Henry Hall (Farnsworth-Rodeo Promoter); Runtime: 54; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Malvern; Monogram; 1935)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Cheeky, easy-going routine B Western, with the laconic John Wayne more talkative and edgier than usual. It's clumsily directed by Cullin Lewis from a story by Lindsley Parsons, but Wayne's comedy antics with rotund hustler sidekick Eddy Chandler work really fine giving the film a graceful charm. It gets its title through the obscure fact that the stagecoach bandits have a hideout at the desert trail. This is one of Wayne's later cheapie films for Monogram, known as a "Lone Star" production.
Rodeo rider John Scott (John Wayne) is informed by his gambler sidekick Kansas Charlie (Eddy Chandler) that the crooked promoter of the Rattlesnake Gulch rodeo, Farnsworth, was not paying off the full share for their purse winnings. When John confronts him, he offers $250 instead of the $900 owed him. Scott takes his money by force, but as he leaves Pete (Al Ferguson) and Jim (Paul Fix) sneak in and rob the promoter and Jim kills him when he resists. When the sheriff enters the office of the crime scene, Pete is stil there and thinks fast to frame Scott and Kansas Charlie.
Warning: spoiler in the next paragraph.
The odd pair of partners go to nearby Poker City,
that robbery suspects Pete and Jim have gone there.
Scott takes the
of John Jones and Kansas becomes the Reverend Harry
Jim's nice orphan storeowner sister Anne (Mary
Kornman), who falls for
John. Stagecoach robberies take place as Pete
blackmails Jim to go
or he'll rat him out as the murderer. The sheriff
(Lafe McKee), when
by Pete the strangers are wanted in the rodeo killing,
they also robbed the stage. They escape and go after
at his hideout. It ends blissfully when the critically
to sis and the sheriff arrests Pete.
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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