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Winds of the Wasteland (1936)

The arrival of the telegraph put Pony Express riders like John Blair and his pal Smoky out of work. A race will decide whether they or stageline owner Drake get the government mail contract.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play) (as Joseph Poland), (original story) (as Joseph Poland)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
John Blair
Phyllis Fraser ...
Lew Kelly ...
Douglas Cosgrove ...
...
...
...
Cherokee Joe - Henchman (as Robert Kortman)
...
...
Jim - Pony Express Rider (as Charles Locher)
Merrill McCormick ...
Pete - Henchman (as W.M. McCormick)
Christian J. Frank ...
Telegraph Crew Chief (as Chris Franke)
...
Arthur Millett ...
Tracy Layne ...
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Storyline

The Pony Express days are coming to an end, with riders John Blair (John Wayne) and his friend Larry Adams (Lane Chandler), both about 75 pounds too heavy for the original job description, out of a job. They pay Cal Drake (Douglas Cosgrove) of Buchanan City a big price for the Crescent City line and equipment, and arrive there to find it is a ghost mining town and has only two residents: eccentric, self-proclaimed Mayor "Rocky" O'Brien (Lew Kelly) and Dr. William Forsythe (Sam Flint). With the arrival from back east of Barbara Forsythe (Phyllis Fraser), the doctor's daughter and Ginger Rogers lookalike, O'Brien happily changes the blackboard population sign from two to five. John determines to get even and operate the line anyway, after vacating a resident skunk from the stagecoach. On his first run into Buchanan City John learns of a coach race to be staged (fastest team to win a $25,000 government mail contract) and he signs up. A telegraph crew, drinking unknowingly of a poisoned ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WAYNE RIDES AGAIN on the BULLET-STUDDED TRAIL of REVENGE (original print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 July 1936 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stagecoach Run  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA 'High Fidelity' Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the final stage of the race, the long shots of the Crescent City coach show a driver with a light coloured vest wielding a whip in his right hand. The close shots show John Blair (John Wayne) wearing a dark coloured vest and with both hands holding reins. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cowboy Legends: 50 Movie MegaPack (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Crescent City - Population 4 - "Watch Us Grow"
31 July 2011 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

One of many B-westerns that John "The Duke" Wayne starred in before moving on to A-pictures in the late 1930's, "Winds of the Wasteland" holds up today as being one of the more enjoyable and exciting ones. It's a tale of corruption and deceit set in the Old West in California, and is actually an interesting look at the power of the human spirit, believe it or not, as these films were never really renowned for going anywhere above the fights, soppy and smooth-as-sandpaper-romances that it chopped up and mashed together onto the screen for people's enjoyment before the big picture was shown. Set in 1861, with the arrival of the telegraph, Pony Express workers are put out of business. John Blair (John Wayne) and his pal Larry Adams decide to take their severance pay and set themselves up in the stage coach business. They travel to Buchanan City and ask local magnate Cal Drake to set them up by selling them a stage coach. Drake tells them where they can find one, and also sells them a line out of his own franchise for them to work on - a line out to Crescent City. Blair and Smoky travel to Crescent City only to find a ghost town. Only two people are still living here - the mayor Rocky who looks mentally retarded and the extremely laid back Doctor Forsythe. Obviously, they've been handed a raw deal here but Blair, being a very smart and confident man, decides to make do with what he has to get back at Drake by entering a stagecoach race against Drake's men to win a $25,000 government contract.

John Wayne makes do as usual here with the flimsy script he is given, but Lew Kelly really got on my nerves during the film. The man looks mentally challenged and whenever he talks it looks like the eyes are going to pop out of his mad looking head. Custom with these films, there's a love interest for John Wayne's character provided by Ginger Roger's cousin Phyllis Fraser. Douglas Cosgrove plays Cal Drake who you just hope is going to get a bullet in his head before the film is over with, and Blair's buddy Larry is played by Lane Chandler. There's actually a lot of humour in this, which isn't very common for these films which are usually quite serious. "Winds of the Wasteland" is one of the better B-westerns The Duke appeared in before finally going A-star in 1939 with John Ford's "Stagecoach".


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