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Joseph W. Girard
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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The setting is 1848 and the U.S. government sends Captain John Wayne to the newly conquered territory of California from the Mexican War. His job is to win over the Spanish Dons to register their land grant property with our government or else they'll be declared public domain.
Of course there are some nasty claim jumpers there who are both gringo and Latino ready to foil our hero. One particularly nasty one is another Spanish Don played by Francis Ford. He's got his eyes on his neighbor's property another Don with an attractive daughter, Ruth Hall. If Ford can't get it one way, he'll get it by marrying his son Donald Reed to Hall.
That changes when John Wayne comes on the scene and Hall crushes on him big time. Of course Wayne is riding on Duke the Wonder Horse and Duke once again proves of invaluable assistance in foiling the bad guys.
Best performance in the film goes to Luis Alberni who to foil the bad guys has to get into drag at the wedding scene of Reed and Hall. He's downright hilarious.
This marked the fourth and last film John Wayne did for Warner Brothers with Duke the Wonder Horse. Later on in his career John Wayne was not noted for particular attachment to his horses. They were a tool of the cowboy trade, nothing more in his films. In fact if my memory serves me I can only recall three films in his later years where the horse's had names and therefore horsenalities to him. That would be True Grit, The Shootist and A Lady Takes A Chance. I'm sure if I'm wrong, John Wayne fans will let me know.
Of course John Wayne moved on to Monogram films and Lone Star westerns and the quality of production went down a few pegs. Bigger and better things were in store for him. But what ever happened to Duke the Wonder Horse?
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