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The Desert Trail (1935)

Passed | | Romance, Western | 22 April 1935 (USA)
Rodeo star John Scott and his gambler friend Kansas Charlie are wrongly accused of armed robbery. They leave town as fast as they can to go looking for their own suspects in Poker City.

Director:

Lewis D. Collins (as Cullen Lewis)

Writers:

Lindsley Parsons (story), Lindsley Parsons (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John Wayne ... John Scott posing as John Jones
Mary Kornman ... Anne
Paul Fix ... Jim
Eddy Chandler Eddy Chandler ... Kansas Charlie posing as Rev. Harry Smith
Carmen Laroux Carmen Laroux ... Juanita (as Carmen LaRoux)
Lafe McKee ... Poker City Sheriff
Al Ferguson Al Ferguson ... Pete
Henry Hall ... Farnsworth (Rodeo Promoter)
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Storyline

Rodeo star John Scott and his gambler friend Kansas Charlie are wrongly accused of armed robbery. They leave town as fast as they can to go looking for their own suspects in Poker City. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Romance | Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caminho do Deserto See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

When dressing to see Juanita, Scott changes hats. However the hat is on a hook on the wall when he arrives, but when he leaves he picks it up from the dresser near the door. See more »

Quotes

Kansas Charlie, aka Rev. Harry Smith: It's talk that always gets you into trouble with a woman. They always think you mean more than you say.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »

Connections

Remake of The Ridin' Fool (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

The Last Lap
(uncredited)
Music by Carl Albert Egener
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Original "Alias Smith and Jones"
31 August 2006 | by aimless-46See all my reviews

Before I explain the "Alias" comment let me say that "The Desert Trail" is bad even by the standards of westerns staring The Three Stooges. In fact it features Carmen Laroux as semi- bad girl Juanita, when you hear her Mexican accent you will immediately recognize her as Senorita Rita from the classic Stooge short "Saved by the Belle".

In "The Desert Trail" John Wayne gets to play the Moe Howard character and Eddy Chandler gets to play Curly Howard. Like their Stooge counterparts a running gag throughout the 53- minute movie is Moe hitting Curly. Wayne's character, a skirt chasing bully, is not very endearing, but is supposed to be the good guy.

Playing a traveling rodeo cowboy Wayne holds up the rodeo box office at gunpoint and takes the prize money he would have won if the attendance proceeds had been good-the other riders have to settle for 25 cents on the dollar (actually even less after Wayne robs the box office). No explanation is given for Wayne's ripping off the riders and still being considered the hero who gets the girl.

Things get complicated at this point because the villain (Al Ferguson) and his sidekick Larry Fine (played by Paul Fix-who would go on to play Sheriff Micah on television's "The Rifleman") see Wayne rob the box office and then steal the remainder of the money and kill the rodeo manager. Moe and Curly get blamed.

So Moe and Curly move to another town to get away from the law and they change their names to Smith and Jones. Who do they meet first but their old friend Larry, whose sister becomes the 2nd half love interest (Senorita Rita is left behind it the old town and makes no further appearances in the movie).

Larry's sister is nicely played by a radiantly beautiful Mary Kornman (now grown up but in her younger days she was one of the original cast members of Hal Roach's "Our Gang" shorts). Kornman is the main reason to watch the mega-lame western and her scenes with Moe and Curly are much better than any others in the production, as if they used an entirely different crew to film them.

Even for 1935 the action sequences in this thing are extremely weak and the technical film- making is staggeringly bad. The two main chase scenes end with stock footage wide shots of a rider falling from a horse. Both times the editor cuts to a shot of one of the characters rolling on the ground, but there is no horse in the frame, the film stock is completely different, and the character has on different clothes than the stunt rider. There is liberal use of stock footage in other places, none of it even remotely convincing.

One thing to watch for is a scene midway into the movie where Moe and Curly get on their horses and ride away (to screen right) from a cabin as the posse is galloping toward the cabin from the left. The cameraman follows the two stooges with a slow pan right and then does a whip pan to the left to reveal the approaching posse. Outside of home movies I have never seen anything like this, not because it is looks stupid (which it does) but because a competent director would never stage a scene in this manner. They would film the two riders leaving and then reposition the camera and film the posse approaching as a separate action. Or if they were feeling creative they would stage the sequence so the camera shows the riders in the foreground and the posse approaching in the background.

Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.


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