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Frontier Justice (1935)

When Brent Halston returns he finds his father in an insane asylum and Wilton about to foreclose on their ranch and bring sheep onto the cattle range. When Wilton kills a rancher, Brent is ... See full summary »


(as Robert McGowan)


(novel) (as Colonel George B. Rodney), (screenplay) (as W. Scott Darling) | 1 more credit »

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Cast overview:
Ethel Gordon
Gilbert Ware
James Wilton
Ben Livesay
Lawyer George Lessin
Dr. Close
Samuel Halston (as Joseph Girard)
Snowflake (as Snowflake)
George Yeoman ...
Sheriff Sam Simon

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When Brent Halston returns he finds his father in an insane asylum and Wilton about to foreclose on their ranch and bring sheep onto the cattle range. When Wilton kills a rancher, Brent is blamed and jailed. Escaping jail he gets Ware to confess that he payed to have Halston committed. He then gets unexpected help from Ethel Gordon when Wilton tries to foreclose. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


RANGE WAR FOR THE WATER RIGHTS! (all original posters-all caps)


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1 October 1935 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film in New York City occurred Friday 29 November 1946 on DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5). See more »


Crooked Gambler: It's your bet.
Brent Halston: Oh, no. It's your bet. You're high with the king of spades.
Crooked Gambler: But I haven't got any king of spades!
Brent Halston: Oh, I don't mean the one in the hole - I mean the one in your hand here.
See more »


Edited into Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (1976) See more »


The Old Chisholm Trail
Performed by the The Beverly Hillbillies
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User Reviews

"Go get 'em boys, don't shoot unless you have to!"
4 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hoot Gibson was admittedly one of the top screen cowboys of the silent era, perhaps second only to the legendary Tom Mix. So to see him in 1936's "Frontier Justice" is probably a terrible injustice to his legacy; the picture is a veritable chore to sit through. Well past his prime as a matinée idol, Gibson comes across almost as a caricature, a practical joker who more closely resembles a comedic sidekick than a Western hero. In fact, one of the film's heavies refers to him as 'That saperoo', a goofy enough line by itself, but one that describes the picture and it's hero pretty well.

As for the story, it's one that's been done time and again in the genre, that of feuding cattle men against sheep herders, with land and water rights hanging in the balance between the warring factions. Brent Halston's (Gibson) father has been committed to an insane asylum, and the man who sent him there, Gilbert Ware (Richard Cramer), is in league with James Wilton (Roger Williams), who conveniently frames Brent for a murder to give the edge to the sheep men. Halston works it all out of course, but watching how he gets there proves to be something of a stretch. Like the old 'drying rawhide trick' that he uses to get Ware to confess his involvement in a land swindle against the elder Halston. You really have to suspend your disbelief to accept that a band of rawhide would crumple a hard gourd in a matter of seconds the way it did on screen. I can't even imagine that theater goers of the Thirties might have bought it, much less someone watching today.

Or how about the film's use of the black character Snowflake, portrayed by Fred Toones. Probably intended as comic relief, the cook's role was embarrassingly underplayed and dull, to the point of being insipid. The few minutes it would have cut from the film, already under an hour, would have been worth it.

Say, keep your eye on that scene near the end of the picture when a group of men congregate to inspect the thirty thousand dollar note that villain Wilton is looking to foreclose on. Ethel Gordon (Jane Barnes) simply vanishes from the screen!!! She doesn't walk away or wind up missing during a scene change, she just disappears! I replayed it a number of times to be sure I had it right, and sure enough, as in the best tradition of David Copperfield, she's just gone - amazing!

One scene that did get my attention though had to do with a rampaging buckboard that breaks apart to the point where all that's left is a chariot like remnant with a lone rider standing to guide the horses pulling it. The scenario had me looking for Yakima Canutt's name in the uncredited cast list and I couldn't find it, but boy, it sure looked like something he would come up with.

I guess if you're a Hoot Gibson fan, what I've reviewed isn't good news, but I guess every actor is entitled to a clunker. That's not to say that all of his later pictures were poor - check out his 1936 film "Lucky Terror". It will probably surprise you, as it did me, with elements you probably haven't seen in a Western before, including some incredible riding and stunt work by Gibson, showing some of the form that made him a star a couple of decades earlier.

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