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A new telegraph line is built, to connect the American West to the East
Coast - but it seems not everybody is happy about it, and Indian chieftain
High Wolf (Yakima Canutt) and his braves constantly attack the wagon
trains delivering supplies to the telegraph line construction workers.
When one of their friends dies in such an attack, army man John Trent
(John Wayne) and his sidekick Tippy (Frank McHugh) decide to investigate
in the closest village to the construction workers' camp.
You see, the
baddie of this piece is not actually the Indian chieftain, but
"respectable" citizen Lynch (Albert J.Smith), who considers the
telegraph back for his business (whatever that is). Lynch lusts after
Alice (Marceline Day), daughter of local businessman Zeke (Otis Harlan),
but she is so freaked out by his proposal that she claims she is engaged
to John Trent, a man she actually doesn't know and has never seen and only
just spotted in a photograph. As it happens, Trent and Tippy enter Zeke's
store just then - and immediately they find themselves at odds with Lynch,
not even knowing it's him they're after.
Alice eventually finds out
Lynch and High wolf and his men are going to attack the next supply train,
and she tries to warn Trent, but instead gets stuck in a box that goes
onto the supply train. She still manages to warn Trent from inside the
box, and the Indians can be fought off.
Later, the Indians attack the
workers' camp, but Trent manage to break through their line, send a
telegram to the army, then break back through the lines disguised as an
Indian and help to defend the camp until the army arrives. When the army
comes to the rescue, High Wolf is shot, and when Lynch, instead of helping
his ally, tries to hightail it, High Wolf shoots him dead.
ends happily of course, and of course in the end Trent gets the girl (for
One of the bunch of low budget Westerns pre-superstar
John Wayne made for Warner
Brothers in the early 1930's that were actually built around
(action-)footage from silent Ken Maynard movies. This works to varying
degrees of success: Scenes like the arrival of the army are captured in an
impressive way and just work, sound or no sound, but there are other
scenes from the old films seeing people actually acting, and acting in the
silents looks totally different than in talkies. Still, all the silent
scenes are no major roadblocks in the flow of this movie ...
As for the
film as a whole: It's decently paced and keeps one entertained, but the
plot is a bit too simplistic to really work and features a few too many
silly plottwists to remain believable. Now I'm not saying this film is a
disaster, it's just little more than your average B Western and absolutely
nothing to get excited about.