John Wayne in The Lonely Trail (1936)


(director: Joseph Kane; screenwriters: Bernard McConville/Jack Natteford/story by Bernard McConville; cinematographer: William Nobles; editor: Robert Jahns; cast: John Wayne (John Ashley), Anne Rutherford (Virginia Terry), Cy Kendall (Benedict Holden), Bob Kortman (Capt. Hays), Etta McDaniel (Mammy), Sam Flint (Governor), Yakima Canutt (Horell), Fred “Snowflake” Toones (Snowflakes), Sam Flint (Texas Governor); Runtime: 58; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Nat Levine; Republic; 1936)
“Standard Western.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Standard Western directed by Joseph Kane from a story by Bernard McConville, who also handles the screenplay with Jack Natteford. Republic boss Herbert Yates was a NYC stockbroker who went to Hollywood and began Monogram Studios. His cinema philosophy was all about the money–not giving two cents about a film’s artistic worth. Yate’s philosophy was that a film should make back at least three times of what it costs to make. In John Wayne, Yates found a dependable and bankable star. For Wayne, these cheapie films became his school where he learned how to act. This is one of those middling film where if Wayne wasn’t in it, it would be of little interest.

Ex-Union officer John Ashley (John Wayne) returns in 1865 to his hometown in Texas and discovers the locals supported the Confederacy and that corrupt Northerners, called carpetbaggers, have gained political control of his town. Ashley has been appointed by the governor to get rid of the corrupt carpetbaggers. The Duke has to overcome the hatred against him by the locals for being a Union man and go after corrupt carpetbagger Holden (Cy Kendall), who runs the town with an iron hand by using the troops to kill, steal, and excessively tax the local ranchers. Our hero still finds time to romance Virginia Terry (Anne Rutherford).