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17 user 6 critic

West of the Divide (1934)

Ted Hayden impersonates a wanted man and joins Gentry's gang only to learn later that Gentry was the one who killed his father. He saves Virginia Winters' dad's ranch from Gentry and also rescues his long-lost brother Spud.

Director:

Robert N. Bradbury

Writer:

Robert N. Bradbury (story and screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... Ted Hayden posing as Gat Ganns
Virginia Brown Faire ... Fay Winters (as Virginia Faire Brown)
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Dusty (as George Hayes)
Lloyd Whitlock Lloyd Whitlock ... Mr. Gentry (as Loyd Whitlock)
Yakima Canutt ... Henchman Hank
Lafe McKee ... Fred Winters
Billy O'Brien Billy O'Brien ... Spuds (as Billie O'Brien)
Dick Dickinson Dick Dickinson ... Henchman Joe
Earl Dwire ... Sheriff
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Storyline

Ted Hayden and his pal Dusty Rhodes come across a dying outlaw, Gatt Ganns. On Ganns's person, they find a letter of introduction to rancher Gentry implicating Gentry in the disappearance of Ted's kid brother Jim and the murder of their father many years earlier. Ted takes on Ganns's identity and pretends to go to work for Gentry, while actually looking for further evidence that Gentry did indeed murder his father and abduct his brother. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Two Gun Son Of The West Takes The Law Into His Own Hands! (1940 reissue poster) See more »

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adelfoi ston kindyno See more »

Filming Locations:

Kernville, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paul Malvern Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In 1934, this film was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency. See more »

Goofs

During a fight between Ted Hayden and Butch, Spuds shouts, "Come on, Ted!" Actually, Ted has been introduced to him and all others at the gangsters' hide-out as Gat Ganns. His real identity is in fact revealed later. See more »

Quotes

Doctor Silsby: You got her here just in time. A small artery's been severed. However, I don't think it's very serious.
See more »

Connections

Edited into Six Gun Theater: West of the Divide (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Heavy Hand Of Fate
7 October 2016 | by Bill SlocumSee all my reviews

There's a short list of films where John Wayne's character dies. I don't think "West Of The Divide" is on that list, but look again.

In the opening five minutes, we watch a man collapse after drinking from a poison water hole. A close up reveals him to be none other than John Wayne. Less than a minute later, he's dead.

Don't worry: That's not a spoiler. John Wayne is playing two characters in this movie. One, Gatt Gans, is a deadly outlaw who, as mentioned, winds up just dead. The other, Ted Hayden, happens to look like Gans, which Hayden discovers after lifting a wanted poster off Gans's corpse. It turns out Gans was en route to perform a hired killing, and it just so happens Hayden has some unfinished business with the hombre behind it.

"Maybe fate's kinda taken a hand in this deal," Hayden observes, before telling his pal Dusty (George "not yet Gabby" Hayes) that he'll pretend to be this bozo with the identical kisser.

Fate indeed takes a hand in "West Of The Divide," a mighty heavy one, too. "West Of The Divide" is practically nothing but fate taking a hand.

A couple of scenes on, a young woman rides away from two bandits. She falls off her horse and hides in a barn. A few moments later, the bandits ride by and happen to get into a fight over losing her. One pulls out a gun, and in the scuffle unknowingly wings her with a bullet. Minutes later, while she's bleeding dangerously close to death, Hayden and Dusty just happen to decide to bunk down in the same barn. Dusty discovers some blood, and well...

That's not even mentioning the little boy who happens to have his own connection to Hayden's past, and happens to be associated with the group of baddies who happen to be after the woman and her money, and happens to pick just the right moment to lift some bullets from someone's gun...

As much as it happens to reek of plot convenience, "West Of The Divide" also offers some memorably weak acting. The father, the chief villain, the woman, all play their roles with wooden stiffness. Even Hayes lacks his typical elan.

Wayne by contrast is terrific, whether making friends with the boy or delivering some long and pointless exposition to Dusty about how Dusty saved him when he was a boy ("Anyway, it won't do you no good, livin' this all over again," says Dusty after stringing out Hayden's tale for five long minutes.) Wayne also grimaces with believable anger when he catches up with someone he's been after for a long time. Given the material, it would have been understandable if Wayne had just gone through the motions, but he really inhabits the part. It's a foretaste of what he would do with better roles in the not-so-distant future, though he didn't always perform as well as this in his B-picture days.

The stunts here are solid, too. One involves a man standing on a runaway buckboard as it disintegrates around him, maybe the coolest stunt in the whole Wayne run of Lone Star pictures.

When I wasn't watching Wayne, I was mostly just bored with this. Director Robert N. Bradbury maintains his characteristically slow pace, making all the silly fate twists he throws at you easier to notice. The Lone Star pictures were meant for casual viewing, and by younger viewers, but even with the bar lowered so it seems somehow not quite low enough for this dull oater.

For Wayne completists only who want to see him in a rare double role, and playing a bad guy, too. Just don't go anywhere for the first five minutes. After that, though, there's little point sticking around.


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