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The Texas Rangers (1936)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 28 August 1936 (USA)
Two down-on-their-luck former outlaws volunteer to be Texas Rangers and find themselves assigned to bring in an old friend, now a notorious outlaw.


King Vidor


King Vidor (story), Elizabeth Hill (story) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Fred MacMurray ... Jim Hawkins
Jack Oakie ... Henry B. 'Wahoo' Jones
Jean Parker ... Amanda Bailey
Lloyd Nolan ... Sam 'Polka Dot' McGee
Edward Ellis ... Major Bailey
Benny Bartlett ... David (as Bennie Bartlett)
Frank Shannon ... Captain Stafford
Frank Cordell Frank Cordell ... Ranger Ditson
Richard Carle ... Casper Johnson
Jed Prouty ... District Attorney Dave Twitchell
Fred Kohler ... Jess Higgins (as Fred Kohler Sr.)
George 'Gabby' Hayes ... Judge Snow (as George Hayes)


Jim Hawkins and Wahoo Jones are stagecoach robbers who head to Texas to find Sam McGee, their partner. Once there, low on funds, they join the Texas Rangers, come across Sam, and decide to run their game by sending Sam inside information. Meanwhile, though, in pacifying rebellious Indians, Jim and Wahoo start to take on the code of the Rangers, and the daughter of the Ranger's major sets her sights on Jim. Can there be honor among thieves, or are Jim, Wahoo, and Sam on a collision course? As a lawless frontier becomes a civilized land, which side will the boys chose? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

texas | texan | song | singer | singing | See All (59) »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

28 August 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Milicias de paz See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its earliest documented telecasts took place in Pittsburgh Wednesday 8 July 1959 on KDKA (Channel 2), followed by Omaha 23 July 1959 on KETV (Channel 7), by Phoenix 16 August 1959 on WLOS (Channel 12), by Milwaukee 16 October 1959 on WITI (Channel 6), by Toledo 29 October 1959 on WTOL (Channel 11), by Seattle 27 November 1959 on KIRO (Channel 7), and, finally, by New York City 25 December 1959 on WCBS (Channel 2). It was released on DVD 8 May 2007 as one of 4 titles in Universal's Classic Western Roundup Volume 1, and, since that time has also enjoyed several airings on cable TV on the Western Channel. See more »


After enlisting in the Texas Rangers, Jim puts his hat on twice. See more »


[to Sam McGee during the climatic gunfight]
Jim Hawkins: Sam, either you come out with your hands up, or I'm comin' in there after ya!
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Fred MacMurray (1961) See more »


Purple Shadows
Music by Phil Boutelje
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

Guardians of the Frontier-Makers of Peace.
22 January 2012 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Texas Rangers is directed by King Vidor who also co-writes with Elizabeth Hill, Louis Stevens and Walter Prescott Webb. It stars Fred MacMurray, Jack Oakie, Jean Parker and Lloyd Nolan. Music is by Gerard Carbonara and cinematography by Edward Cronjager. Plot has MacMurray and Oakie as two outlaws who decide to become Texas Rangers, something which invariably brings them into conflict with another outlaw pal.

It showcases the good and bad of 1930s Westerns. The action is strong and vibrant, the landscapes appealing and the story as a premise is always interesting. But those good points are countered with weak scripting, goofs, logic holes and a mixed bag of acting performances. But all told, Vidor's movie comes through its problems to stay firmly on the good side of good for the Western fan.

It's good guys versus bad guys on the home front, with the Indians lining up in numbers to be the common foe. It's here for the latter, where Vidor excels, constructing the action scenes with great skill as a ream of extras in Indian attire attack in their droves, arrows and bullets fly with murderous worth, bodies hurl and fall about, it's exciting stuff. The highlight coming as the Indians start flinging boulders off of a cliff face down onto the Rangers down below; the sound work here especially great, as is the stunt work in this whole segment of the film.

MacMurray and Oakie make a likable pair, but both seem a touch out of place in this portion of the Wild West. But Nolan cuts a nice snarly figure as chief villain Sam "Polka Dot" McGee, and he gets to deliver the film's best (nastiest) moment. Parker is pretty but pretty much a token, while secondary support slots are capably filled by the likes of Edward Ellis, Benny Bartlett and Frank Shannon. Cronjager's black and white photography is on the money, neatly utilising the New Mexico locations as wide open vistas that impose on the characters. While Carbonara scores it with standard Cowboys and Indian flavours for the attacks, and bombastic machismo for the Texas Rangers patrols.

Full of formula and mixed signals as to what it wants to be, The Texas Rangers is none the less an enjoyable picture and one of the better Oaters from the 30s. 7/10

Footnote: A sequel followed in 1940 called The Texas Rangers Ride Again. In 1949 The Texas Rangers was remade as Streets of Laredo, with William Holden starring.

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