5 user 1 critic

The Law West of Tombstone (1938)

Passed | | History, Music, Romance | 18 November 1938 (USA)
Notoriuos liar Bill Barker, having been banished westward by the law, talks the townspeople of Martinez into making him Mayor and Judge. Here he has to deal with the outlaw the Tonto Kid, ... See full summary »



(story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

5th Ave Girl (1939)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Rich industrialist Walter Connolly feels unwanted by his wife and children so he hires unemployed Ginger Rogers to pose as his mistress.

Director: Gregory La Cava
Stars: Ginger Rogers, Walter Connolly, Verree Teasdale
Wagon Train (1940)
Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Pecos businessman Matt Gardner is buying up freighters, or wagon trains of food supplies, at cheap prices through intimidation, and charging high prices by deliberately causing phony food ... See full summary »

Director: Edward Killy
Stars: Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Emmett Lynn
Six-Gun Gold (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Don, Smokey and Whopper are are their way to Placer City where Don's brother Brad is U.S. Marshal. But when Don gets there, he finds that Marshal Brad is not his brother, but an impostor. ... See full summary »

Director: David Howard
Stars: Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Jan Clayton
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

This lurid exposé of the Hitler Youth follows the woes of an American girl declared legally German by the Nazi government.

Directors: Edward Dmytryk, Irving Reis
Stars: Tim Holt, Bonita Granville, Kent Smith
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Arriving in Red River to join their friend Chet Andrews in the ownership of a cattle ranch, Jim Carey and his pal Ike discover that Chet has been jailed for resisting the efforts of a ... See full summary »

Director: Lesley Selander
Stars: Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Barbara Moffett
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Hydraulic Mining versus Sacramento Valley Farming.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: George Brent, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

This film opens with two small Arizona towns, Spencerville and East Spencerville, separated by a dry gulch and a feud, and governed by a Vigilante Committee. Lew Harmon, committee member ... See full summary »

Director: Howard Bretherton
Stars: Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Nell O'Day
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Texas Ranger Jack Steele is assigned to bring in former ranch owner Judith Alvarez, now the leader of a gang who is waging war against the crooked government officials who cheated the ... See full summary »

Director: David Howard
Stars: George O'Brien, Rita Hayworth, Tim Holt
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Kit Russell, appointed special investigator, has infiltrated a local robber gang ostensibly led by Snap, but has found out that an unnamed local person is really the brains behind the ... See full summary »

Director: Lambert Hillyer
Stars: Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Ann Summers
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Storekeeper Paul Manning is attempting to sabotage the completion of a telegraph line so he can have time to dispose of his stock before the near-by Army post is abandoned. He uses outlaw ... See full summary »

Director: Lesley Selander
Stars: Tim Holt, Gail Davis, Hugh Beaumont
Sagebrush Law (1943)
Music | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Tom Weston arriving in town just as the Doctor announces his father's death a suicide, sees the gun is in the wrong hand. When the Bank Examiner announces the bank has no money and Tom's ... See full summary »

Director: Sam Nelson
Stars: Tim Holt, Cliff Edwards, Joan Barclay
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Using his trained dog, a rookie cop tries to prove his friend innocent of a robbery, despite the police commissioner's objection.

Director: David Howard
Stars: Tim Holt, Virginia Weidler, Janet Shaw


Complete credited cast:
Ted aka The Tonto Kid
Clara 'Clary' Martinez
Jean Rouverol ...
Nitta Moseby
Clarence Kolb ...
Sam Kent
Danny Sanders
Madame Mustache
Bradley Page ...
Doc Howard
Bud McQuinn
Robert Spindola ...
Joey Chuy (as Robert Moya)
Mulligan P. Martinez
Mort Dixon


Notoriuos liar Bill Barker, having been banished westward by the law, talks the townspeople of Martinez into making him Mayor and Judge. Here he has to deal with the outlaw the Tonto Kid, the troublesome McQuinn Brothers, and look after his daughter Nita Mosby who thinks her father is dead. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

outlaw | brother | mayor | arizona | liar | See All (62) »


This is a different Western! (original poster) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 November 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Lei na Terra dos Bandoleiros  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kermit Maynard is listed by modern sources as a cast member, but was not seen in the film. See more »


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


Gwine to Rune All Night (De Camptown Races)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Foster
Played by Don Barclay at the Texas Rose Saloon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Easygoing western with quirky characters and great frontier flavor
30 May 2011 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

THE LAW WEST OF TOMBSTONE (1938) doesn't play like a standard Hollywood western, either A or B. It's more like what you'd get if you took two short stories based on a colorful, larger-than-life western character and merged them together and made a film out of it. It's much more character-driven than plot-driven. A handful of lively, eccentric characters with wildly varying agendas are thrown on screen together and let loose in a tiny Texas town hoping to see some growth from a new railroad station.

Harry Carey Sr. plays Bill Barker, a tall-tale-spinning westerner with big dreams but little capital. In the opening scene, set in New York in 1881, he rides a carriage at high speed down Broadway and tries to con a Wall Street tycoon who's a little too smart for him. Back in Texas, he finds himself elected mayor of Martinez, thanks to his ability to dazzle a crowd with extemporaneous big talk. He takes a local outlaw under his wing, the Tonto Kid (Tim Holt), and tries to get him to straighten out, especially after the boy takes a liking to a newly arrived young lady who happens to be Barker's daughter, a relationship she has no knowledge of, having been raised to think her father died a hero at Gettysburg. Which is exactly how Barker wants it.

There are Indians, whose movements are manipulated to benefit different factions, and corrupt ranchers seeking to deprive rivals of available water resources. There are dance hall girls whose function is never spelled out but is quite evident nonetheless. Everything happens at its own pace and if you come into this expecting—or demanding—the usual western formula you will allow the film's considerable virtues to fly right over your head.

In the few writings I've seen on this film, much is made of the central characters' resemblance to certain western historical figures, e.g. Judge Roy Bean, Billy the Kid and the Clanton Gang. As someone who's read quite a bit of western history, I find the characters presented here unique enough to stand on their own as memorable fictional figures and the tale, as spun here, more in keeping with folklore than with history.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Discuss The Law West of Tombstone (1938) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: