Riders of the Cactus (1931) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • This film and "Flying Lariats,1931" were filmed in a week on location in Sonora, California (interiors shot at Universal) with the exact same cast in both films. Both were produced (for Big 4) by a company named Hooper-Connell Corp.,Ltd, which was cameraman R.B. Hooper and brothers Robert and Charles T. Connell. Hooper shot both films, David Kirkland wrote and directed both and Charles T. Connell edited both, minus a credit line. Common mistakes regarding both films is that an elder actor named Joe Lawliss was in both (and billed as such) but some source has evidently decided Joe Lawliss didn't know how to spell his own name and has incorrectly changed it to Joe Lawless. Some source also thinks that the Don Wilson credited in both films is the same Don Wilson that was the announcer on the Jack Benny radio and television programs. He ain't. Etta Delmas is in both films (same cast in both) but some source has decided that her role in "Flying Lariats" was played by an actress that doesn't exist named Etta Dalsing. Well, she didn't exist until said source created her. The plot of "Riders of the Cactus" must have taken four of the seven shooting days as it is more involved than the one in "Flying Lariats." This one revolves around an old Latin parchment which holds the secret to the location of a buried Spanish treasure. American tourist Josie Casey and her Aunt Sarah come into possession of the document, but transposing Latin is neither's strong suit, which need not be meant to imply that acting was. But Jake McKeever/Jake Wenzel does and intends to acquire it. He has his wife Pearl (Tete Brady), bar girl wearing a one-piece bathing suit or corset or something but making whatever it is look really good, distract Border Patrolman Bob Bronson while Jake gets the document from the Caseys. Jake and his gang head for the Sonoran desert. They are followed by a prospector leading a blanket-covered mule train. Jake and his men are a little miffed when Border Patrolmen and Mexican Rurales come out from under the blankets. There were several of these Hopper-McConnell westerns shot over a short period of time, and a few of them appear like they mixed up some reels in the editing process, as character names and situations sometimes change in a New York minute. But that doesn't account for the Joe Lawless/Etta Delsing/Don Wilson errors. Those have been created in the past few years.


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