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The Miracle Rider

USA 1935
produced by
Nat Levine for Mascot
directed by B. Reeves Eason, Armand Schaefer
starring Tom Mix, Charles Middleton, Niles Welch, Edward Hearn, Joan Gale, Bob Kortman, Ernie Adams, Jason Robards sr, Edward Earle, Robert Frazer, Tom London, Edmund Cobb, Max Wagner, Charles King, George Chesebro, Jack Rockwell, Stanley Price, George Burton, Jay Wilsey, Tex Cooper, Bud Geary, Pat O'Malley
screenplay by John Rathmell, based on a story by Gerald Geraghty, Barney Sarecky, Wellyn Totman, music by Lee Zahler

Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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After a prologue about the fate (& exploitation) of the Indians from 1717 onwards, featuring Davy Crockett (Bud Geary), Daniel Boone (Jay Wilsey) & Buffalo Bill (Tex Cooper), all presented a friends of the Indians, & involving the murder of a Texas Ranger (Pat O'Malley) who dedicated his life to aiding the Indians, the silm switches to the present time (1935 that is).

Texas Ranger Tom Morgan (Tom Mix), son of the murdered Texas Ranger, also fights for the rights of the Indians, & these rights seem to be in peril once again, as evil landgrabber/oil producer/armsdealer Zaroff '(Charles Middleton) has found the extremely rare explosive X-94 in large quantities ready to bw mined on the land of the Ravenhead tribe, & has already promised a foreign nation on the bring of war willing to buy it ... the only problem now is to get the Ravenheads off the reservation without causing suspicion.

His first idea is to shoot the Ravenheads' chief (Robert Frazer), & with the help of Longboat (Bob Kortman), an ambitious Indian he has employed for his evil cause, blame it on the old legend of the Firebird. & to give some weight to this old legend Zaroff had his private scientist Metzger (Niles Welch) bild him a bizarre plane which can be started from inside a mountain's cave & which is to put enough horror into the indians' brains to leave the reservation ... but Tom Morgan smells foul play, & before long he has found out  what he has always suspected, that the firebird is a mere plane built only to drive the natives away.

Eventually, Tom even succeeds to crash the Firebird (even if a bit involuntarily), but somehow Zaroff's men succeed in destroying the thing before he can bring it to the Ravenheads & prove it is not a supernatural being. & furthermore, Zaroff has made sure that not he is the main suspect of everything but local trader Janns (Edward Hearn), who, while not exactly innocent, has nothing to do with the goings-on but just happens to have land he would like to sell the Ravenheads for their new reservation. To make sure that all trails continue to lead to Janns, Zaroff even has Janns' assistant Stelter (Ernie Adams) on his payroll ... & Tom Morgan sure enough falls for it & tries to connect everything that happens with Janns.

However, eventually Stelter becomes a risk so Zaroff's men kill him & make it look like Morgan killed him in  shoot-out, which would shed even more suspicion nto Janns.

Meanwhile though, Janns has looked through Zaroff's dirty game of trying to frame him ... & does the second best thing, when he throws in with Zaroff, to profit from X-94.

In the meantime, Morgan & Indian girl Ruth (Joan Gale) see through Longboat's treachery when he tries to blame the killing of a man on Morgan who turns out to be not dead at all. Eventually, Morgan & Longboat ae engaged in mortal combat that is only resolved when Janns, in a stroke of genius, shoots Longboat, to rid himself of any suspicion the ranger had against him ...

But to no avail, soon Janns is in the center of suspicion again (& this time justified), & Zaroff & his men decide to get him out of town hidden in one of Zaroff's oiltrucks ... but the escape goes wrong, Janns dies in an accident, & Morgan finally finds a clue leading to Zafoff ... but he can't find a motive, until he finds X-94 on one of Zaroff's men, Ruth finds (& steals) a carload of X-94 in one of Zaroff's secret mines, & somehow a phone in the mine can be directly connected to a secret phone in Zaforr's office (not only in the literal sense of the word).

After much action it all ends in Morgan chasing Zaroff trying to get away in his car ... but driving it over some cliffs to his death ... & as a thank you for this, Morgan kis called to Washington to handle Indian affairs, & he takes Ruth with him as his secretary.


One of the few serials that seriusly deals with the fate of the & wrongdoings towards the Native Americans, even if in a pulpy, soemtimes sci-fi kind of way. The serial itself is typical Mascot-fare, not always strong on complexity & narrative logic, but moving from one action scene to the next almost seamlessly, with the obvious intention to never bore - & it succeeds, too.

By the way, silent cowboy star Tom Mix's first serial ... & last film.


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