Mountain Justice (1930)

Passed  |   |  Action, Adventure, Music  |  4 May 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.7/10 from 6 users  
Reviews: 1 user

A man returns to a small town in Kentucky to find his father's killers.


(as Harry J. Brown)


(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Otis Harlan ...
Jud McTavish
Kathryn Crawford ...
Coral Harland
Paul Hurst ...
Lem Harland
Les Bates ...
Abner Harland
Richard Carlyle ...
Judge Keats
Gilbert Holmes ...
Rusty (as Peewee Holmes)
Len Nash ...
Band Leader (as Len Nash and His Country Boys)


In the Kentucky mountains, Ken McTavish comes to Kettle Creek looking for the killer of his father. When he learns that it was Abner Harland, he fakes the killing of his friend Rusty, puts Abner in a coffin, and takes off. Lem Harland, seeing Rusty alive, realizes what happened and the chase is on. Written by Maurice VanAuken <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

4 May 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kettle Creek  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


Seein' Nellie Home
Sung by Kathryn Crawford, with the Len Nash Band
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User Reviews

one of the most exciting and novel chase scene ever put on film
8 July 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Mountain Justice was Ken's first all-talking film. Sometimes this film is described as showing Ken as a singing cowboy, but he plays neither a cowboy nor does he sing in it.

It was made in 1930 while he was at Universal. It is not a typical Ken Maynard film. It is not a Western nor does it have his famous horse Tarzan.

It is a hillbilly film. There used to be lots of hillbilly films, the most famous being Trail of the Lonesome Pine with Henry Fonda and Fred MacMurray.

There is an authenticity to this film that many Hillbilly movies fail to capture.

In Mountain Justice, Ken plays a man in search of his father's killer. In order to do this he journeys into the Kentucky hills where strangers are looked upon with suspicion. The McTavish Klan has made a truce in their long running feud with the Harlan Klan. Since Ken plays a McTavish, he tries to hide his true identity and pretends to be a deaf fiddle player. There is a effective sense of menace and violence in this film, although there no one is killed in it.

Once one gets over the shock of not seeing Ken in a Western, this film is quite interesting. There are a number of good scenes in it, as well as an authentic Hillbilly Jug band.

Whatever failings this film might have for modern viewers may be redeemed by one of the most exciting and novel chase scene ever put on film where Ken pulls out all the stops riding on a buckboard, two horses, jumping on a train.

Paul Hurst is quite effective as illiterate Lem Harland who early on catches onto Ken's game, and causes Ken all kinds of trouble.

There are a number of authentic mountain songs in this film, but they are not forced as you would see in the singing cowboy movies that would come later. Instead they are shown as part of the daily lives of people who make up the Mountain community of Kettle Creek Kentucky.

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