West of Cheyenne (March 1, 1931)
Released on March 1, 1931: A cow wrangler goes into outlaw territory to find the killer who framed his father for murder.
Produced by Harry S. Webb
Directed by Harry S. Webb
Written by Bennett Cohen and Oliver Drake
The Actors: Tom Tyler (Tom Langdon), Josephine Hill (Bess), Harry Woods (Kurt Raymer, aka the Laramie Kid), Fern Emmett (Rose), Ben Corbett (Banty), Lafe McKee (Lafe Langdon), Robert Walker (henchman Nevada), Ethan Allen (sheriff), Tom Bay (Langdon cowhand), Bob Burns (bearded henchman), Frank Ellis (Jim Halliday), Lew Meehan (henchman), Tex Palmer (Langdon cowhand), Henry Roquemore (John Holden), Slim Whitaker (henchman Steve)
The Cowboy and Captain Marvel
Vince Markowski was born in 1903 in New York, but his Lithuanian family moved to Detroit Michigan area where he grew up and would retire and die at the age of 50. Vince was a weightlifter and in 1928 was considered the strongest man in the world when he lifted 760 pounds, and was on the 1928 Olympic weight lifting team. During this same period Vince was getting work in Hollywood as a stunt man and eventually as a leading cowboy in silent movies. When talkies came along, like this early talking movie, he changed his name to Tom Tyler and worked hard to lose his Lithuanian accent. In this recently discovered well-worn copy of a Harry Webb cowboy adventure he is Tom Langdon, son of Lafe Langdon, who has been sentenced to death for shooting his neighbor. Tom will go to the outlaw paradise in the rocky hills west of Cheyenne to find the real killer. As the 1930’s cowboy movie stars like Gene Autry and Roy Rogers emerged, Tom Tyler was soon out of work as a cowboy star. Watching this movie today, I am thinking that the directing style of his movies is what may have killed his cowboy career. This movie has none of the slick polish that audiences got accustomed to with the big cowboy stars. . . . The dialogue and action remind me of the ‘reality’ shows that are currently popular on television. It is a very cool thing and gives me the feeling that it isn’t a staged movie, but a real peek at western life. Unfortunately back in 1931 movie audiences probably wanted the slick productions that came along with the big cowboy heroes of the next decades. This movie comes off like someone just filming real events and people, and today almost a hundred years later, I find it fascinating because it is so ‘real’ looking. Tom Tyler would not star in many more cowboy movies, but he would become famous as the first ‘Captain Marvel’ superhero in the 1941 twelve episode movie serial. But today he is just a roaming cowboy hoping to save his papa from hanging for a murder that he didn’t commit. Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the show.
Josephine Hill and Harry Woods
Tom Tyler and Lafe McKee