Sheriff John Higgins quits and goes into prospecting after he thinks he has killed his best friend in shooting it out with robbers. He encounters his dead buddy's sister and helps her run her ranch. Then she finds out about his past.
Running Time: 51 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: Passed
Had John Wayne lived to this day, he would have celebrated his 100th birthday this past weekend, Memorial Day, 2007. In the seventy years he was graced to spend on Earth this actor from Winterset, Iowa managed to become world-renowned as ...well, as actor and character John Wayne.
His career as an actor was somewhat hindered by his strong 'western film' background and the stereotyped roles that his fans and film viewers came to imagine him always filling. Wayne's stereotype may have first began to be stirred together in the early films of his career. A bit player in many of his early films in Hollywood, his size, raw talent, and good looks soon earned him some starring roles. Well, all that and a friendship with director John Ford did not hurt.
From 1932 to 1935 Wayne did a series of short Westerns for North Star Productions, essentially their only films ever released. Most of them were directed by Robert N. Bradbury and many seem to be based on his stories/screenplays. As was this not-too-sparkling gem Texas Terror.
In these North Star Productions films Wayne generally played a leading character named 'John *whoever*'. Perhaps he had a hard time responding to a given name other than his own while in character.
These characters all appear to suffer similar problems in any of these films. In this one Sheriff John pursues the bad guys escaping after a bank robbery and a long-time friend/mentor is killed in an exchange of gunfire. Of course John thinks he fired the fatal bullet. Guilt-ridden, he resigns as sheriff and retreats into the wilderness to prospect for gold.
Long story short, the mentor's sister returns to town, John is 'guilted' into becoming foreman of her inherited ranch;bad guys plot to steal horses, ranch, and sister;and typical early cowboy movie mayhem ensues. Lots of fistfights, endless horse chases, lots of shooting at each other with little damage (until needed to drive the plot), and of course, some Indians thrown in when needed.
Texas Terror really is a bunch of nonsense delivered in a nonsensical story and film. Whenever something needs to be explained to the audience a character conveniently wanders out to discuss the topic with a leading character. Or a conversation is overheard from behind a doorway or through a window.
In the end, John learns the truth (by beating a supposed guilty gang member) about who killed his friend/mentor, wins the girl, wins back his squeaky-clean reputation . . .it is all rather silly.
Perhaps the only redeeming quality to the film is the presence of an early George 'Gabby' Hayes before he became so ...'Gabby-fied'.
I’d always resisted watching John Wayne’s 1930s Western programmers (some of them have been shown on both local and Cable TV over the years) – but, some time ago, my father had purchased a bargain-basement PD triple-bill featuring two of these (plus Clark Gable’s official debut, THE PAINTED DESERT ) and I thought I’d check them out in time for The Duke’s 100th Anniversary. (imdb.com)
CAST & CREW:
Director: Robert N. Bradbury
Writers: Robert N. Bradbury
John Wayne ... John Higgins
Lucile Browne ... Bess Mathews (as Lucille Browne)
LeRoy Mason ... Joe Dickson (as Leroy Mason)
Fern Emmett ... Aunt Martha Hubbard
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Sheriff Ed Williams (as George Hayes)
Jay Wilsey ... Blackie Martin (as Buffalo Bill Jr.)
John Ince ... Blacksmith Bob
Henry Roquemore ... Dance MC (as Henry Roguemore)
Jack Duffy ... Jake Abernathy
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