In 1889 pioneers race ahead of the law to claim free land in Oklahoma, forming wide-open towns. In one such, citizens elect Milt Dawson to challenge the self-appointed rule of gambler Ace ... See full summary »
In 1889 pioneers race ahead of the law to claim free land in Oklahoma, forming wide-open towns. In one such, citizens elect Milt Dawson to challenge the self-appointed rule of gambler Ace Holmes, only to have him shot in the back. But leading the next batch of settlers is Milt's quick-on-the-draw son John, who gets help from friendly outlaws. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
John Wayne was so busy grinding out these western quickies in the days before Stagecoach that maybe he forgot around 1939 to tell Herbert J. Yates that they already had done a film entitled The New Frontier. The Duke has two films for Republic with that title. The second The New Frontier is the last of his Three Mesquiteer films and has Jennifer Jones as his leading lady under her real name of Phyllis Isley.
It's possible Yates thought that the first The New Frontier was so bad that he wanted a chance to redeem the title. The Three Mesquiteer film is better than this one that came out four years earlier.
John Wayne is a trail boss, according to the film, a vanishing breed. He and father Sam Flint are doing this line of work, bringing in settlers to the new Oklahoma territory. It will be Wayne's last job before he settles down in the new Oklahoma town of Frontier.
Problem is that gambler/saloon owner Warner Richmond wants a wide open town. The good citizens of Frontier hire Flint as a sheriff to clean up the place, but Flint gets back shot. Wayne takes his place, in the same way Tom Destry Jr., stepped into his father's profession in Destry Rides Again.
Wayne gets help from an old outlaw, Al Bridge, in his efforts. Bridge's life was saved by the Duke on a previous occasion and for an outlaw, he's a man of honor.
Except for Al Bridge who later became a Preston Sturges regular, the acting is kind of stiff. Granted that B westerns of the day were usually in some never never land west, but I think even the Saturday afternoon kid crowd knew that wagon trains had died out a generation ago with the coming of the railroad. Wayne in fact takes a specific route from Kansas to Oklahoma the long way around to bypass hostile Indians. There weren't any hostile Indians then. In fact any school kid knew that Oklahoma was the place the formerly hostile Indians got dumped.
What the film lacks in authenticity it makes up for in the final fifteen minutes as the Wayne/Bridge crowd starts shooting it out with Richmond's bunch. In fact a fire in the saloon makes this one blazing shootout.
The New Frontier is one of a minority of films that never came out on VHS or DVD of John Wayne's. Let's hope the Wayne family estate keeps it under wraps.
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