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The Miracle Rider (1935)

Approved | | Action, Comedy, Western | 12 April 1935 (USA)
Texas Ranger tries to stop takeover of Indian lands.


(original story) (as Barney Sarecky), (original story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Gale ...
Chief Black Wing [Ch. 1] (as Bob Frazer)
Niles Welch ...
Carlton (as Jason Robards)
Christopher Adam - Indian Agent
Emil Janss
Sewell - Henchman
Vining - Henchman
John Stelter [Chs. 2-7]
Morley - Henchman
Hatton - Henchman
Crossman - Janss Hand [Ch. 1, 3, 8, 11-12]


In 1930s Texas, following the murder of his father, Tom Morgan joins the Texas Rangers to avenge his father's death and to follow in his path as a proponent of Indian rights. His task as a Ranger is to stop the evil Zaroff and his gang, who are smuggling the elements for a powerful explosive from a mine on Indian land. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Idol of every Boy in the World - Greatest Western Star In The History Of Motion Pictures! See more »


Action | Comedy | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

12 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Indian Ranger  »

Box Office


$80,000 (estimated)


$1,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(15 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Tom Mix's daughter Ruth Mix was to play the lead female role, but it went to Joan Gale, who played the character named "Ruth". See more »


While Ruth is being chased by outlaws, you can see the shadow of a camera truck/car visible on her outfit. See more »


[first lines]
Daniel Boone: We'd better take the north trail.
See more »


Edited from The Last of the Mohicans (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

Tom Mix ended his movie career in a top-notch serial!
21 December 2004 | by (Easley, South Carolina) – See all my reviews

Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, Buffalo Bill, the Texas Rangers, Tom Mix, and a whole bunch of Indians in the first chapter! Golly gee! It just doesn't get any better than this! Tom Mix was one of the top cowboy stars of all time for a reason. He looked good on film. Even though his career was rooted in the silent era, he made a few film appearances in the early days of sound. In The Miracle Rider Tom Mix speaks like a cowboy, as in he really did not have a great Hollywood leading man's articulation and tone. His voice was deep and strong, but he spoke in a direct, matter-of-fact way that was befitting of a cowboy. Mix knew how to play to the camera, and always commanded attention when he was in a scene. By the time The Miracle Rider was made Mix was in his 50's, but unlike the younger silent star, Ken Maynard, Mix was not noticeably overweight as he got older. This serial is an excellent example of Tom Mix' work.

The Miracle Rider starts off with historic American figures vowing to respect and honor Indians when white men chose to encroach upon Indian land. The build-up leads to young Tom Morgan's father, a Texas Ranger, dying as he fights to protect the Ravenhead Indians from would-be interlopers. As the elder Morgan is dying, he tells his son, Tom, to continue to protect the Ravenheads. When the adult Tom Morgan appears, we see Tom Mix in the role. From there the story unfolds in a present-day western setting.

Tom Morgan is made a chief among the Ravenheads and is given the name, "The Miracle Rider" by Chief Black Wing. An evil oil man named Zaroff secretly mines a highly explosive ore used for munitions and energy, X-94, on the Ravenhead Reservation. Zaroff is determined to scare the Ravenheads so they will ask to have their reservation moved to another location. Black Wing is murdered to discourage the Indians from staying on the reservation. In the early chapters Zaroff uses the "Firebird." The Firebird is a whirring, remote controlled glider that flies over the reservation. The Firebird is much simpler than "The Wing", the flying machine used in later Republic serials, but it is still effective in moving the plot along. Zaroff also employees, Longboat, an ambitious Ravenhead who hopes to become chief of the Ravenhead Nation. Longboat tries to convince the Ravenheads that the Thunderbird is evil, so they must move. Conveniently, a local businessman named Janss has land next to the Ravenhead Reservation that he is willing to sell to the government for use as a new reservation. Zaroff employees several people to do his dirty work while he is making a deal with the unseen "Leon" for shipments of X-94. For 15 chapters Tom Morgan has to find out who is trying to move the Ravenheads from their land and why.

Tom Mix relies on his horse, Tony Jr., more than once during The Miracle Rider's 15 chapters. Mix also uses his rope as much as his gun in some chapters. Charles King plays an almost nameless thug on Zaroff's payroll. Any western with Charles King as a bad guy has to be good just because it has Charles King in it.

The Ravenhead Indians are overly superstitious and easily frightened. This is far too obvious, even as an element to move the story along. On the other hand, the costumes worn by the Ravenheads are excellent. They wore beautiful feathered and beaded clothing! The "Indian" look was well presented. Today, such fine leather and bead-work is expensive to purchase and hard to find.

Mascot Pictures was soon to be folded into Republic Pictures when The Miracle Rider was made. Under Nat Levine, Mascot developed a formula for serials that Republic would use for years. In one sitting, a serial can seem to wander pointlessly with too many plot changes. You have to love the serial format. When viewed over time in single or double chapter installments, The Miracle Rider comes across as a top-notch serial. For a final movie, Tom Mix went out on a high note. The Miracle Rider is everything you would expect from a legend like Tom Mix.

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