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Born to the West

Hell Town

USA 1937
produced by
William T. Lackey, William LeBaron (executive) for Paramount
directed by Charles Barton
starring John Wayne, Marsha Hunt, Johnny Mack Brown, John Patterson, Monte Blue, Lucien Littlefield, Jack Kennedy, Nick Lukats, Syd Saylor, Jennie Boyle, James Craig
screenplay by Stuart Anthony, Robert Yost, based on a novel by Zane Grey

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Dare (John Wayne) and Dink (Syd Saylor) are two carefree drifters, with Dare believing himself to be the best cardplayer West of Mississippi, but now they have run out of money and have to pay Dare's cousin Tom (Johnny Mack Brown), a rich banker and cattleowner, a visit to ask him for some money. When Tom instead tries to talk some sense into them and offer them a job, Dare bluntly refuses ... until he meets Tom's sweetheart Judy (Marsha Hunt) and immediately falls for her. And since she appears to be quite responsive to his advances, he and Dink decide to take the jobs as cattlemen after all - and before you know it, they have become cooks at Tom's outfit.

But then one day, and thanks only to Judy, they get promoted and are made responsible for driving the cattle into the next bigger town and send it. But - as in any good Western - where there's a herd of catle, there's always rustlers, and their boss Hammond (Monte Blue) immediately tries to buy Dare and Dink, but no luck, the two of them have decided to go straight ... so Hammond instead buys Tom's former foreman Hardy (John Patterson) to help him and his men lay an ambush. But it seems Dare is one step ahead of Hammond and his men and he spoils their ambush but good. In fact, Dare ultimately sells the cattle just like he was supposed to with not one piece missing.

Till though Hammond has not run out of tricks, and since he knows that Dare believes himself to be a great cardplayer, he hires a cardshark of his own, Bradley (James Craig), and the two of them cheat Dare out of all the money he made from the cattle in a game of set-up poker.

Meanwhile, Judy has persuaded Tom to go look what became of Dare, and ultimately he just arrives when Dare is about to lose his (Tom's) last money - at which point Tom takes over and catches Bradley cheating ...

It all culminates in a chase and a shoot-out during which Tom is seriously wounded but Dare saves his life. The ending though sees Dare and Dink wanting to drift onwards when Judy holds them back and Tom even promises to make Dare a partner in his company.


Beautifully filmed B-Western, containing many wonderful shots of cattledrives - though at least some of them were allegedly lifted from other films -, but concerning plot, the film is a bit on the cheesy side and at times suffers from a lack of action.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD