THUNDERING HERD, THE (aka: Buffalo Stampede) (director: Henry Hathaway; screenwriters: Jack Cunningham/Mary Flannery/story by Zane Grey; cinematographer: Ben Reynolds; music: Karl Hajos; cast: Randolph Scott (Tom Doane), Judith Allen (Milly Fayre), Buster Crabbe (Bill Hatch, stage driver), Noah Beery (Randall Jett), Harry Carey (Clark Spraque, Hide Dealer), Monte Blue (Smiley a Buffalo Hunter),Raymond Hatton (Jude Pilchuk, Spraque’s Partner), Barton MacLane (Pruitt, Jett’s Henchman), Blanche Frederici (Mrs. Jane Jett), Frank Rice (blacksmith); Runtime: 62; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harold Hurley; Timeless Video; 1933)
“LivelyZane Grey tale.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Henry Hathaway (“The Dark Corner”/”True Grit”/”Niagara”)directs with verve this livelyZane Grey tale, that’s written by Jack Cunningham and Mary Flannery.
It’s set in the Western frontier in 1874.Tom Doane (Randolph Scott) turns his low paying stage driver job over to Bill (Buster Crabbe) and partners with trading post owner Clark Spraque (Harry Carey) to hunt for buffalo hides. The night before going on the hunt with Sprague and old-timer hunter Jude Pilchuk (Raymond Hatton), Tom’s to marry Milly Fayre (Judith Allen). But she’s kidnapped by buffalo hide thief Randall Jett (Noah Beery), her lecherous ruthless outlaw step-father who married to the hateful harpy Jane (Blanche Frederici) after her mom died. Tom’s rescue attempt is thwarted when he’s knocked unconscious and shot by Randall, and sent back to his camp while bound to his horse. Months go by before Tom reunites with runaway Milly, and he then must rescue Sprague and his hunting party from an Indian attack. Tom rides to get help from hunter Smiley (Monte Blue) and his wagon party, and they stave off the Indians. Meanwhile the violent Jane and her cutthroat hubby shoot it out, as the jealous wife shows him whose boss. These baddies kill each other off, and Tom after the successful hunt plans on wedding Milly. Meanwhile the Indians declare war on the white men for needlessly slaughtering their food supply.
The low-budget Paramount film borrowed stock footage from William K. Howard’s 1925 silent version (the stampede of wagons across a frozen lake). Jack Holt was the lead in the original and wore a pencil-thin mustache. Scott wore the same mustache.
REVIEWED ON 4/14/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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