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Douglas Fairbanks Jr.,
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At this point in his career John Wayne was doing B films for Warner Brothers and it was decided to give him a smart horse like Roy Rogers's Trigger. And what do they name the horse? Duke. That's something Wayne must have had a hand in.
Here John Wayne is an army scout and he gets Frank McHugh as an army corporal/telegrapher as sidekick. When a good friend of their's is killed while sending a message for help by wire during an Indian attack, these two are sent to take personal charge of the construction of the last leg of the telegraph.
There's a nasty villain played by Frank Hagney who runs a shipping outfit and with his Indian friends wants to keep the telegraph out. How the telegraph would affect his business is never quite made clear, but this is a B western so plot holes back then were a pretty common occurrence.
Wayne and McHugh are very effective together, too bad they never got to work together again.
For those who've never seen the entire film, the last minute of The Telegraph Trail are seen in Footlight Parade in a scene where James Cagney is in a movie theater observing his competition as he's a director of stage musicals. Ironically enough Frank McHugh is also in the cast of Footlight Parade which makes one wonder how the Warner Brothers slipped up there.
By the way, for the only time I can recall in any of his films, John Wayne sports a two gun holster. Butts reversed in the manner of Wild Bill Elliott. If anyone can recall another film he did like that, I'll correct this review.
I would recommend The Telegraph Trail for Wayne fans to see how well he and Frank McHugh connect. Another twist in his career and Frank McHugh could have had a grand career as western sidekicks.
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