Undisputed King of the Hollywood Cowboys, John Wayne's formative acting years saw him playing in B-grade Westerns for studios like Lone Star Pictures. Cast by old friend John Ford, his role as The Ringo Kid in 1939's Stagecoach
brought stardom, and he would continue to be an iconic figure on screen until his death in 1979. This triple feature looks back at those early years, where The Duke's gritty persona and trademark halting drawl are present but not as pronounced as they would eventually become. All three films are full of fast-paced action and daredevil feats, thanks in no small part to the presence of Yakima Canutt, one of Hollywood's top stuntman at the time.
Star Packer (1934): An outlaw gang, led by a mysterious criminal known only as The Shadow, terrorizes the town of Coyote Canyon, robbing, rustling, and leaving three sheriffs riddled with bullets. John Travers, an undercover US Marshal, rides into town and offers to take on the recently vacated post of local lawman. With sidekick Yak, Travers must find out who The Shadow is, and catch him in the act. With George Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Verna Hillie. Directed by R.N. Bradbury.
Sagebrush Trail (1933): Wrongly accused of murder in Maryland, John Brant heads out west, hoping to find the one man who can clear his name. With the law hot on his trail, Brant befriends a local outlaw and is invited to work for his gang as a cook. John's new pal turns out to be the very witness he's been looking for. More than that, he's the man who actually committed the crime. With Lane Chandler, Yakima Canutt, Nancy Shubert. Directed by Armand Schaefer.
Rainbow Valley (1934): Residents from the storm-ravaged mining town of Rainbow Valley are desperate to rebuild the roads that connect them to the outside world, but a band of gunmen are doing their best to sabotage the work. Into this melee rides John Martin, a stranger who seems capable of handling the outlaws; the very sort of person the townspeople have prayed for. Impressed with his tough-as-nails demeanor, they ask Martin to head up the highway construction and hold the saboteurs at bay. With George Hayes, Buffalo Bill, Jr., Lucille Browne. Directed by R.N. Bradbury.
Paradise Canyon (1935): Medicine show operator "Doc" Carter is out of prison and back on the road with his "Famous Indian Remedy," ten years after being framed by his partner. Joining him in his travels are his daughter Linda, and sharpshooter John Wyatt, an undercover Federal agent sent to investigate a counterfeiting ring. The phony money trail leads to none other than Curly Joe, the man responsible for putting "Doc" in prison. Curly Joe, alarmed by his former associate's reappearance, decides to put him out of the picture once and for all. With Marion Burns, Reed Howes; Directed by Carl L. Pierson.
Randy Rides Alone (1934): Lawman Randy Bowers, dispatched undercover to question saloonkeeper Ed Rogers about a rash of robberies, is met by a grisly scene - everyone in Rogers' Half Way House has been shot dead. The local sheriff arrives just behind him, and arrests Bowers as the killer. Unwilling to blow his cover, Randy plays along, and with the help of a beautiful woman, escapes from prison to track down the real killers. With Alberta Vaughn, George Hayes; Directed by Harry Fraser.
Winds Of The Wasteland (1936): Progress has finally brought telegraph wires to California, leaving Pony Express rider John Blair out of work and flush with horses. Blair and his pal Larry Adams decide to use their steeds to run a stagecoach business. Rival stage boss, Cal Drake of Buchanan City, sells them a franchise in Crescent City, which turns out to be little more than a ghost town. Unwilling to let Drake's swindle put them out of business, Blair decides to get his revenge by returning Crescent City to its former glory. With Phyllis Fraser, Douglas Cosgrove; Directed by Mack V. Wright.