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The Telegraph Trail (1933)

 -  Western  -  18 March 1933 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 235 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

A greedy businessman-turned-renegade foments an Indian uprising against the coming telegraph to perpetuate his economic stranglehold on the territory.



(screenplay), (dialogue)
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Title: The Telegraph Trail (1933)

The Telegraph Trail (1933) on IMDb 6/10

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Complete credited cast:
Duke ...
Duke - John's Horse
Frank McHugh ...
Corporal Tippy
Alice Keller
Otis Harlan ...
Uncle Zeke Keller
Albert J. Smith ...
Gus Lynch
Yakima Canutt ...
High Wolf
Lafe McKee ...


Greedy opportunist Gus Lynch, in order to continue to gouge townsfolk for necessary supplies, convinces High Wolf and his Indian tribe that they need to prevent the completion of the new telegraph lines or their tribe will be wiped out by a new influx of white men. Receiving an incomplete message warning of a white man's involvement in the recent Indian uprisings, cavalry scout John Trent is sent in to rectify the situation. Written by Doug Sederberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Parents Guide:





Release Date:

18 March 1933 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Telegraph Trail  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (original release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the film that James Cagney is shown as an example of talking pictures (and the reason for his impending unemployment) in Footlight Parade (1933). See more »


Shot of the Indians attacking, you can see the tracks of the camera car. See more »


Corporal Tippy: [Referring to Alice] I told ya she's in cahoots with Lynch.
John Trent: I don't know what their game is, but I'm not letting any woman pull the wool over my eyes!
Corporal Tippy: What wool?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits list "Duke" second, closing credits list "Duke" last. See more »


Featured in Footlight Parade (1933) See more »


My Pony Boy
Music by Charley O'Donnell
In the score during the pony express ride
See more »

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User Reviews

More Comedy than Western

This kid-friendly Oater was obviously intended for the Saturday morning double-features which droves of kids attended in the 30's and 40's. Mom & Dad dropped you off while they did the weekly shopping and you had a double-feature, a couple of cartoons, a 3-Stooges short and a Movietone news to entertain you, all for a dime. I know because I saw hundreds of them. Anyway, about this picture, it pays very little homage to the so-called plot which involves something to do with the new invention of the telegraph bringing communication across the continent. It has hundreds of extras (they must have been cheap to hire in those days) dressed as settlers, cavalry or Indians backing up the star (John Wayne) and the requisite pretty lady played by Marceline Day. In those days, the studio executives must have been convinced that the Cowboy and his faithful horse sidekick (ala Roy Rogers and Trigger) was a winning formula, so they paired John Wayne with a beautiful white stallion named Duke. The major attraction of this movie is the continual series of sight gags and gaffes which we never noticed as kids. In one scene, John Wayne is on top of a telegraph pole sending a message back to the Fort and a crowd of 10-12 Indians rides up and begins shooting at him. Wayne pulls his trusty six-shooter, fires once, and kills the Indian with the headdress. THEN WAYNE PUTS HIS GUN BACK IN HIS HOLSTER! What kind of direction was that? Can you believe John Wayne ever quit fighting a hoard of enemies in his life? Well, he does in this movie. I guess it was because he wanted to wait until the Indians fired off a volley at him; this would allow him to pretend to be hit so that he could fall off the pole (ouch!) and fake his death. Naturally, the gullible Indians were fooled, so they rode off at an accelerated gallop (all the galloping scenes are speeded up about 20% to make things more exciting), and before they have gone 50 yards, we see John Wayne getting to his feet. Then we find out that he wanted the feathered headdress so he could strip off his shirt (showing the manly Wayne chest), don the headdress and, pretending to be an Indian, join the Indians attacking the settlers, and then slip through the line of wagons (in a circle, naturally) and reenter the camp where he can join up with the beautiful girl. Of course, he can't begin fighting the circling Indians until he ducks into a tent and grabs a beautiful fringed-leather shirt and puts it on. One must be properly dressed when fighting Indians! All in all, this movie is fun to watch and if you are an old codger like me, it will bring back lots of wonderful memories of all those Saturday mornings long ago.

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