(director: Robert North Bradbury; screenwriter: Lindsley Parsons; cinematographer: William Hyer; editor: Carl Pierson; cast: John Wayne (John Martin), LeRoy Mason (Rogers), George “Gabby” Hayes (George Hale), Buffalo Bill, Jr. (Austin “Butch” Galt), Frank Ball (Powell), Lafe McKee (Storekeeper), Lucille Browne (Eleanor), Burt Dillard (Spike); Runtime: 60; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Paul Malvern; Monogram; 1935)
“A young and dashing John Wayne plays an undercover special investigator.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
In this routine but easy to handle B Western from Monogram, a young and dashing John Wayne plays an undercover special investigator named John Martin sent by the governor to stop a gang from preventing an essential road from being built for a mining operation in Rainbow Valley. The outlaws are led by “Butch” Galt (Buffalo Bill, Jr.), who is in jail. But respectable citizen Rogers (LeRoy Mason) assumes leadership of the gang in his absence. The gang schemes to prevent the road from being built so they can drive the mine operation to a halt and therefore buy up the land cheap. It’s directed in a snappy fashion by Robert North Bradbury and penned by Lindsley Parsons.
John Martin meets mail-carrier George Hale (George “Gabby” Hayes), who is riding his car nicknamed “Nugget Nell” on the trail to Rainbow Valley. Later John rescues George from a gang trying to steal the mail. In town, John meets the woman postmaster, Eleanor (Lucille Browne), whose uncle is George. She was appointed to the position by Rogers, figuring he could control a helpless woman. But he didn’t count on her making the gutsy George the mail-carrier. Martin recognizes one of the gang, Spike, talking to Rogers in the post office and gets into a brawl with him. But George says he can’t identify him and he’s let go. Meanwhile the locals are demanding law and order, and the leading town citizen Powell (Frank Ball) is circulating a petition to let the governor know they need help from the terrorists. Hearing about Martin’s rescue of George and watching him beat up Spike, gives Powell the confidence to hire Martin as road crew chief even though he’s a stranger.
Martin stops the gang from blocking the road from being built, but the gang steals all the dynamite and the workers must wait six weeks for a delivery of more dynamite before continuing. Meanwhile the oily Rogers steals the petition and substitutes it with his own phony petition calling for the release of Butch. When released, Butch recognizes Martin as his cellmate (part of his undercover assignment) and gets him to join the gang by promising him a big share in the expected future profits. Then Martin tricks Butch into believing he needs the dynamite to destroy the road, but instead plans to retrieve the dynamite to build the road. Martin sets up a plan that puts an end to the gang, as he sets off the dynamite and blows them to smithereens. As a reward for his heroics, Martin gets a big kiss from the postmaster.
REVIEWED ON 7/17/2005 GRADE: B-