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In old California Captain John Holmes must convince landowner Don Jose Cantares to register his land or face having it become public domain. Don Luis Gonzales, with rather selfish motives, is trying to convince him to do otherwise. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Leon Schlesinger, who in addition to creating and overseeing the Warner animation unit, also produced films for the Warner's B-western unit. Schlesinger signed the broad-shouldered young actor - John Wayne, partly out of his physical resemblance to Ken Maynard, the easier to match the stunts and action scenes from the earlier silent films. Wayne made six of these films with WB, as re-makes of the Maynard silent films. See more »
John Wayne in one of his early forgettable B-westerns
The only way I can watch any one of the early B-westerns is by deciding in advance to treat it as high camp, although occasionally a good one pops up. This film is not one of those, but I still had a few chuckles at the goings on, looking for outrageous items. John Wayne is an army captain sent from a fort in Monterey to convince Spanish land owner Lafe McKee to register his claim, else it will become public domain. Land grabbers Francis Ford and his son Donald Reed try to keep McKee from doing so in order to get the land for themselves. The only comic relief in the film came from Luis Alberni, who reads palms, continuously introduces himself as "Felipe Guadelupe Constanche Delgado Santa Cruz" in a flourish, and dresses in drag. Almost everyone else, including Wayne, is so serious it was somewhat funny. I had fun with the good bad guy (Slim Whitaker), the all-too-easy escapes, the stilted dialog, the obligatory love-interest (with Ruth Hall), the peculiar sword fighting, and best of all, Wayne's mind-reading horse, Duke. When Wayne was captured, he tells Alberni (who is outside the locked room where there are no guards) to send Duke to get Whitaker's men. All Alberni does is pat the horse on his rear end and say "go on, Duke."
This was set right after California entered the Union when the Spanish land owners distrusted the "gringos," and filmmakers used the theme of land grabbing quite often.
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