17 user 8 critic

The Lawless Frontier (1934)

Mexican outlaw Zanti killed John Tobin's parents. John teams up with Dusty, also hurt by Zanti, to get the bad guy.


(as R.N. Bradbury)


(story and screen play) (as R.N. Bradbury)

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Complete credited cast:
... John Tobin
... Ruby
... Sheriff Luke Williams
... Dusty (as George Hayes)
... 2nd Zanti Henchman (as Buffalo Bill Jr.)
... Joe - Zanti's Henchman
... Deputy Miller (as Bud Wood)
... Pandro Zanti Posing as Don Yorba


Tobin is after the bandit Zanti who killed his parents. He finds him just as Zanti is about to kill Dusty and kidnap Ruby. Saving the two, he goes after Zanti. He catches him but Zanti escapes the Sheriff's handcuff's and this time Tobin has to chase him into the desert. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Romance | Western


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

22 November 1934 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gesetz des Stärkeren  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Balsley and Phillips Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecasts of this film took place in Syracuse Sunday 3 April 1949 on WHEN (Channel 8), in Detroit Saturday 16 April 1949 on WXYZ (Channel 7), in Los Angeles Sunday 4 September 1949 on KTSL (Channel 2), in Philadelphia Monday 7 November 1949 on WFIL (Channel 6), in Los Angeles Sunday 7 January 1950 on KECA (Channel 7), and in New York City Monday 7 August 1950 on WOR (Channel 9). See more »


During the chase scene, just before Ruby's horse goes down, a highway bridge is visible in the distance between the trees. See more »


The Sheriff: You're a slick, cunning wolf, Zanti, but I finally got ya.
Pandro Zanti: You forgot, Señor Sheriff, wolves run in packs. And mine is not far behind.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

True Bleep
29 December 2014 | by See all my reviews

The worst of the Lone Star John Wayne westerns is a real drag to watch, whether you like John Wayne or just have better things to do with 50 minutes.

That Pedro Zanti (Earl Dwire) is one crafty villain. We are told he is half-white, half-Apache, but pretends to be a Mexican for some reason, which means he imitates Ricardo Montalbán even when issuing orders to his gang during a cattle-rustling job. He's so crafty he even fixes it so the theft takes place both at day and at night, depending on which camera is shooting. He speaks English fluently, yet is undone in the end because they don't write warning signs in bad accents.

The nominal hero of the piece, John Tobin (John Wayne), is the son of one of Zanti's victims, as seen in the opening, when he discovers his dead father after lighting a match. Wayne grimaces as if he had a bad meal, which is about all the emotion he bothers to project. You think you are getting a revenge film, but after pretty Sheila Terry shows up needing rescue in a nearby river, that element gets flung by the wayside as Tobin decides to help her out. Luckily for him, this is a film chock-a-full of bad coincidences, so he can bag Zanti and the girl without as much as a cutaway shot.

Dwire, a solid performer in other Lone Star films, narrows his eyes and smiles a lot, looking ridiculously out-of-place in his charro outfit and spindly legs.

Everyone seems to be sleepwalking in this one. Director Robert N. Bradbury aims for the youngsters, with hidden doors and lots of shooting and dangerous-looking horse falls. About the only half- interesting plot element to be found in "The Lawless Frontier" is a sheriff character who doesn't much care about doing his job, announcing "I don't trust nobody!" He blames Tobin for everything, steals credit for Zanti's capture, and stupidly allows Zanti to escape by handcuffing his boot to a bedpost, as if he thinks the boot is part of his foot. The sheriff is so stupidly incompetent, he's the one character in this film that almost works.

"He started off alright, but he's sure gone to seed," says a fellow named Dusty played by George (not yet "Gabby") Hayes.

You can't say the same for "Lawless Frontier," not after its confused day-for-night-for-day opener. It never goes to seed but stays bad right up to the silly ending where Tobin manages to trap a gang of bad guys with a crate of dynamite that just happens to be lying around. I guess it gave the little nippers a bang, and let the adults in the theater know it was time to wake up.

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