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Sheriff John Higgins quits and goes into prospecting after he thinks he has killed his best friend in shooting it out with robbers. He encounters his dead buddy's sister and helps her run her ranch. Then she finds out about his past. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Well, someday you're going to hate me, when that time comes I'm leaving this part of the country for good."
The story line in "Texas Terror" is built on a fairly weak plot line; throughout the film, John Higgins (John Wayne) believes that he killed his old friend Dan Matthews in a shootout that takes place at the beginning of the movie. Having just chased a gang that committed a robbery to Matthews' cabin, it never occurred to Higgins that maybe he was killed by one of the bad guys. Where's ballistics when you need them? Upset over his friend's death, Higgins gives up his sheriff's badge, and it passes to former sheriff Ed Williams (George pre-Gabby Hayes). Higgins heads out of town to take up a solitary life as a prospector, and turns in a good deed when he helps a young Indian boy with a broken leg, thereby earning Chief Black Eagle's gratitude, which will come in handy later on.
Eventually, Matthews' daughter Beth (Lucile Brown) returns home to run her father's ranch, and hires on John Higgins as her foreman. There's something she can't quite connect to Higgins' voice, though earlier he rescued her from a bandit gang in his unshaven, unkempt guise. Higgins keeps Beth at a distance, knowing that when she learns of his involvement with her father's death someday, she will wind up hating him.
It's interesting to see how primitive these early films were in their exposition of key story elements. The movie relies on a lot of eavesdropping and coincidence for the characters to interact, for example, Wayne's character overhears the Martin boys discuss their plan to rob the Wells Fargo safe, while Beth follows Higgins to observe him open the safe after he got the combination from the banker.
The lead heavy in the film is Joe Dickson (LeRoy Mason), and in league with the Martins, he plans to rustle the Lazy M horses and use the proceeds to impress Miss Beth. By this time, Higgins decides he needs to get to the bottom of Dan Matthews' death, realizing that maybe he wasn't the guilty party. He calls upon Black Eagle to foil the horse heist, and as the tribe swings into action, Higgins first gets the drop on Blackie Martin (Jay Wilsey), who in turn fingers Dickson for his crimes, all the way back to Dan Matthews' murder.
As in virtually all of the mid 1930's Lone Star Westerns, John Wayne winds up winning the female lead, usually shown with the two in a clinch at the end of the film or riding off into the sunset. Here it's done more by innuendo, as Black Eagle and another rider watch Beth enter the cabin where Higgins is. After two hours, the men get weary and decide to leave after offering comments on how unpredictable women can be. Two hours? I wonder what they were doing!
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