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Western Racketeers (1934)

Cattlemen use Alamo Pass in order to get their cattle to market. A gang has taken it over and charges a toll to go through it. When one rancher doesn't have enough money to pay the toll, he... See full summary »


Robert J. Horner


James P. Hogan


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Cast overview:
Bill Cody ... Bill Bowers
Edna Aslin Edna Aslin ... Molly Spellman (as Edna Aselin)
Hal Taliaferro ... Sheriff Rawlings (as Wally Wales)
George Chesebro ... Fargo Roberts
Richard Cramer ... The Coroner
Bud Osborne ... Blackie - Henchman
Frank Clark Frank Clark ... Steve Harding / Tiny Harding
Tom Dwaine Tom Dwaine ... Mullins
Ben Corbett ... Mike (as Benny Corbett)
Robert Sands Robert Sands ... Sam Spellman
Billy Franey ... The Informer (as Bill Franey)
Gilbert Holmes ... Breed Morgan (as Pewee Holmes)


Cattlemen use Alamo Pass in order to get their cattle to market. A gang has taken it over and charges a toll to go through it. When one rancher doesn't have enough money to pay the toll, he winds up dead. A local rancher, Bill Bowers, investigates the killing, but his neighbor and rival Molly Spellman decides to take her cattle around the pass instead of through it to avoid the toll. The gangsters kidnap her, and Bill gathers the other ranchers in the area for a final showdown with the gang. Written by frankfob2@myway.com

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Release Date:

2 April 1934 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Aywon Film See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecast of this film took place in Philadelphia Friday 4 November 1949 on WFIL (Channel 6). See more »

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User Reviews

z-grade western from infamous director Robert J. Horner
23 January 2005 | by django-1See all my reviews

Director(and con-man,read the fascinating story of Horner's financial con-games at the Old Corral website) Robert J. Horner was responsible for a number of z-grade westerns during the late silent and early sound eras. I've seen two of his silent westerns, and like Black z-grade director Oscar Micheaux, Horner is a much worse sound director than a silent one. Every scene is one-take, which gives the film a certain life-like quality, since we occasionally stumble over our words in real-life just like the actors do here, and like them we just correct ourselves and move on. Many of the scenes seem randomly framed, and some of the close-ups do not match the medium shots very well. Horner did assemble an interesting cast of Gower Gulch regulars, including the great George Cheseoro as the heavy (chewing the scenery), Wally Wales as the sheriff (who seems like he was handed the script five minutes before the particular scene--Wales is a real pro and fakes it OK, but he seems to be line-reading), the silent-film team of Ben Corbett and PeeWee Holmes, Budd Buster, Richard Cramer (so good as the crooked gangster town boss in Richard Talmadge's THE SPEED REPORTER), and even silent comedian Billy Franey. Leading lady Edna Aslin seems to have made mostly z-grade westerns in her brief career, but she seems as though she might be good as, say, a gangster's moll or a gum-chewing, tough-talking waitress in non-Western films. I've seen a dozen Bill Cody westerns, I'm sure, but I've never seen him so loose and casual as the "hero." For much of the film, he floats around with an odd grin on his face as if he's not really part of the same world as the other characters. At first, I thought he might be drunk, but that doesn't seem so. I like the goofy aspect of his performance in this film. The plot, such as it is, involves a crook whose hired muscle are keeping the local ranchers from taking their cattle to market over a pass which is located on Government land and hence open to all. If you can imagine yourself living in some backwater small town in 1934, a place with really nothing to do, and there is a tiny, rundown theater that shows mostly independent, states rights westerns, and that's all that's available to you and what you are used to seeing, this film is not as bad as I remembered it being. With such professionals in the cast who had done this kind of thing dozens if not hundreds of times before and who could probably act out a passable scene at a moment's notice ANYWHERE and with a four-year-old behind the camera, WESTERN RACKETEERS is passable z-grade entertainment of the lowest order, and nowhere near as bad as PHANTOM COWBOY or LIGHTING BILL or THE IRISH GRINGO. I'd also rather see something raw like this than, say, a Fred Scott or Jimmy Wakely western. Still, this film is only for the poverty-row-western completist.

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