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Lure of the Wasteland (1939)

 |  Western  |  18 March 1939 (USA)
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Federal agent Smitty assists Butch Cooper, leader of a gang that robbed a train in which the loot was never recovered, in making an escape and accompanies him to the Utah badlands. Parker, ... See full summary »


(as Harry Fraser)


(original screenplay) (as Munro Talbot)
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Complete credited cast:
LeRoy Mason ...
Ruth Findlay ...
Ruth (as Marion Arnold)
Tom London ...
Henry Roquemore ...
Judge Carlton
Karl Hackett ...
Bob Terry ...
James Sheridan ...
Nolan Willis ...
Jim (as Willis Nolan)


Federal agent Smitty assists Butch Cooper, leader of a gang that robbed a train in which the loot was never recovered, in making an escape and accompanies him to the Utah badlands. Parker, leader of a gang of cattle rustlers, recognizes Butch. The latter takes Smitty to the spot where the loot was buried, but it has disappeared. Butch suspects his former comrades of making off with the money. Smitty and Butch have acquired jobs on a nearby ranch and Cookie, a former gang member, is questioned about the missing money. Butch encounters two members of his old gang and they take him to Parker. Both suspect the other of having the money, but they finally conclude that Cookie either has it or knows where it is. They kidnap him and he confesses he dug up the money and it is in the safe at the ranch of Judge Carlton. Smitty comes in and, in the struggle that follows, is revealed as a federal agent working undercover. He is left guarded while Butch, Parker and the gang ride to Carlton's ranch. Written by Les Adams <>

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Plot Keywords:

train | train robbery | See All (2) »


Photographed in natural COLOR by Francis Corby







Release Date:

18 March 1939 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

A Rare "B" Western in Color!
29 December 2013 | by (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

"Lure of the Wasteland" is an independently produced "B" western filmed in color, a rarity for such films.

Two escaped convicts Smitty (Grant Withers) and Butch (Leroy Mason) are on the run from the law. To evade capture they join up with a cattle ranch owned by Judge Carton (Henry Roquemore) who just happens to have a comely young daughter Jane (Marion Arnold).

We learn that Butch was involved in a $250K robbery and has hidden the loot before being sent to prison. The ranch cook "Cookie" (Snub Pollard) turns out to have been a member of Butch's gang. When Smitty and Butch go to dig up the loot, they find that it is gone. Butch gets into a fight with the foreman (Tom London) and is fired. He then looks up the members of his gang led by Parker (Karl Hackett) whom he suspects has taken the money. Not so. Smitty it turns out also has a vested interest in the proceedings.

As I pointed out earlier, it was rare to see a "B" western of the 30s running under an hour filmed in color. I don't recall any color series westerns until Republic introduced their "Trucolor" westerns first with their Monte Hale and later with Roy Rogers series.

Grant Withers had been appearing in a couple of serials around this time and soon would be part of the cast of the Boris Karloff Mr. Wong series. His costume in this film is, you might say, different from those usually seen in such westerns. In any event he went on to appear in a couple of John Ford westerns and in many "A" and "B" westerns for Republic. Leroy Mason was one of the busiest villains in "B" westerns in the 30s and 40s. Tom London appeared in more "B" westerns than you can count working well into his seventies. Snub Pollard had been a major comedy star in the early silent films.

Unfortunately the version of the film I saw was faded and scratched somewhat however, the color photography appears to be quite spectacular. It's worth a look.

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