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Heritage of the Desert (1939)

Passed | | Western | 23 June 1939 (USA)
John Abbott returns to the desert land he owns, and after being wounded by hired gunman Chick Chance, he is befriended by rancher Andrew Naab and his son, Marvin. Naab's daughter, Marian, ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »


Complete credited cast:
Miriam Naab
David Naab
Andrew Naab
Henry Holderness
Henchman Nebraska
Snap Thornton
Henchman Chick Chance
John 'Skins' Miller ...
Postmaster John Twerk
Reginald Barlow ...
Judge Stevens


John Abbott returns to the desert land he owns, and after being wounded by hired gunman Chick Chance, he is befriended by rancher Andrew Naab and his son, Marvin. Naab's daughter, Marian, falls in love with John but is about to marry Snap Thornton to keep a promise made by her father. She runs away on her wedding day but is captured and held hostage by outlaw Henry Holderness. John, the Naabs and fellow ranchers rush to her rescue. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Zane Grey's pen... again sends a devil-may-care youth... on an exciting trail of adventure and romance.




Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

23 June 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Heritage of the Plains  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The 20 Zane Grey stories sold by Paramount to Favorite Films for theatrical re-release, and then to Unity Television Corporation for television broadcast are as follows: The Light of Western Stars/Winning the West (1930), Fighting Caravans/Blazing Arrows (1931), Heritage of the Desert/When the West Was Young (1932), The Mysterious Rider/The Fighting Phantom (1933), The Thundering Herd/Buffalo Stampede (1933), Man of the Forest/Challenge of the Frontier (1933), To the Last Man/Law of Vengeance (1933), Wagon Wheels/Caravans West (1934), Rocky Mountain Mystery/The Fighting Westerner (1935), Drift Fence/Texas Desperadoes (1936), Desert Gold/Desert Storm (1936), The Arizona Raiders/Bad Men of Arizona (1936), Arizona Mahoney/Arizona Thunderbolt (1936), Forlorn River/River of Destiny (1937), Thunder Trail/Thunder Pass (1937), Born to the West/Hell Town (1937), The Mysterious Rider/Mark of the Avenger (1938), Heritage of the Desert/Heritage of the Plains (1939), Knights of the Range/Bad Men of Nevada (1940), and The Light of Western Stars/Border Renegade (1940). See more »


Version of The Heritage of the Desert (1924) See more »


Here's A Heart
Music by Victor Young
Lyrics by Frank Loesser
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Zane Grey Western
12 April 2010 | by (The Lonesome Prairie) – See all my reviews

Donald Woods, a newly broke, eastern schooled geologist goes west to find out if there's money to be had in his business holdings, currently managed by vicious crooks. Blown off a cliff by a hired killer, he's saved when he lands in quicksand and patched up by an oppressed family with the same enemies, leading to a love-triangle involving the daughter and her fiancé, a jealous, deceitful hired-hand, who happens to be a spy for the villains.

A typically entertaining entry in Paramount's Zane Grey series, well directed by Lesley Selander, this doesn't have the star power of earlier films, but the story's solid and the script well-written. Production values are pretty good too.

A personable cast is headed by the likable Woods, with excellent support by Robert Barrat as the noble family patriarch, Evelyn Venable (the original model for the Columbia Pictures logo) as his daughter, and Willard Robertson in a limited but fascinating role as a hired gun that despite his being employed by the bad guys, insists on keeping his own code of honor intact.

One of the film's triumphs is that you actually care about these characters. The rousing climax is quite satisfying too.


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