West of the Divide (February 15, 1932))
Released on February 15, 1934: John Wayne is Ted Hayden, who impersonates an outlaw in order to infiltrate a gang and discover which of them killed his father.
Directed by Robert N. Bradbury
Written by Oliver Drake and Robert N. Bradbury.
The Actors: John Wayne (Ted Hayden, aka Gat Ganns), Virginia Brown Faire (Fay Winters), George 'Gabby' Hayes (Dusty), Lloyd Whitlock (Mr. Gentry), Yakima Canutt (Hank), Lafe McKee (Fred Winters), Billy O'Brien (Spuds), Dick Dickinson (henchman Joe), Earl Dwire (Sheriff), Horace B. Carpenter (cattle buyer Hornsby), Philip Kieffer (Doctor Silsby), Artie Ortego (henchman), Tex Palmer (henchman), Archie Ricks (henchman), Hal Taliaferro (henchman), Blackie Whiteford (henchman Butch).
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This is the first movie that I've seen cowboy pro Gabby Hayes without his beard. It looks a bit strange to hear Gabby Hayes voice coming out of this clean-shaven fellow. In this cowboy thriller he teams up with big John Wayne, and between the two of them, the outlaws don't have a chance! Pop your white kernel generously buttered bowl of popcorn and get ready for some rootin-tootin cowboy action with two of the legends of cowboy movies.
As our movie opens we see Gabby and Wayne talking. We learn that Gabby saved Wayne's life when some outlaws raided his ranch and killed his father, and left Wayne for dead. Gabby nursed him back to health, and together they would like to find the maingy outlaws that did the deed. Wayne remembers the crazy laugh of the man that killed them, and together they are on the search. Wayne would also like to find his little brother, who disappeared during the attack. As they are talking a man staggers up near them, and with his dying breath he warns them that the water in the waterhole up ahead is poison. After he dies, they check his pockets and find a note introducing him to a local rancher as an outlaw that is coming to do a murder job for the man. Wayne decides to impersonate the dead man and infiltrate the gang and try to discover if any of them were involved in killing his dad. As this tale of the west continues, our heroes get intertwined with both the outlaws and the rancher and his lovely daughter that are the outlaw gang's next victims. Of course, Wayne comes through with flying colors, winning every fist fight, avoiding certain death as they try to frame and kill him, and winding up with the admiration of the young girl and her father. Oh, did I mention that he found his kid brother also? Lots of happy ending details as the tough guys fight it out for law and order in the wild, wild west.