The Way of the West (October 15, 1934)
Released on October 15, 1934: The cattle men and the sheep men are having a range war, and it is up to undercover agent Wally Wales and little Bobby Parker to save the ranch and catch the bad guys.
Directed by Robert Emmett Tansey
Written by Barry Barringer and Robert Emmett Tansey.
The Actors: Hal Taliaferro (Wally Gordon), Bobby Nelson (Bobby Parker), Myrla Bratton ('Firey' Parker), Fred Parker ('Dad' Parker), James Sheridan (henchman 'Skipy'), William Desmond ('Cash' Horton), Art Mix (henchman Tim), Bill Patton (Buck), Jack Jones (Sheriff number 2, Jed Hampton), Harry Beery (older cowhand), Helen Gibson (townswoman), Tiny Skelton (Tiny), Gene Layman (Jeff Thompson, bar owner), Jimmy Aubrey (Sheriff number one and bartender Jim), Barney Beasley (deputy), Herman Hack (barfly), Clyde McClary (short cowhand), Bud Pope (cowhand), Francis Walker (barfly).
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Donald, the fellow that tagged me with the name 'Jimbo,' often says to me with a twinkle in his eye, "Jimbo, only the good die young . . . . so you and I will live forever!" I was reminded of this when our hero used a similar back-handed smart-alek remark. In his first encounter with the bad guys, he out-wits them, and the big bad guy says something about our hero being pretty smart, but he goes on to tell our hero that smart men die young in the wild west. Our hero replies that he has plenty of time left, then. Not quite what I expected, but certainly something that Donald or I would have said.
If you are a little boy, or have a little boy to watch this movie with, or you feel like a little boy today, or you just enjoy watching little fellows playing cowboy, this adventure is for you! Just about every cowboy movie has a pretty young girl who must be saved from the big bad guys, and of course the hero with a white cowboy hat who saves the girl and her family. A lot of cowboy movies have little kids in them for comedy relief or just for added atmosphere, but this one has a little fellow in it that is really a vital part of the plot. Bobby Nelson was twelve years old when he made this movie. He made his final movie in 1937 when he was fifteen years old, and as an adult was an accountant. What stories he could have told his kids - "Sure kids, Daddy is a pencil pusher today, but when I was young like you I acted in movies and got to ride horses, shoot bad guys and meet lots of famous actors."
In this familiar tale about cattle men vs. sheep men, little Bobby, the pretty lady's kid brother, helps our good guy break out of jail, and at twelve years old no one is surprised that he carries a gun and knows how to use it. How cool! If I had been alive in 1934 and watched this movie on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I would have had a head full of visions with me as the kid who could out-smart the bad guys and help save the ranch. Heck, even now as I watch it I think that if I were a twelve year old in the old west, I could have been little Jimmy and done the stuff that Bobby did. It is day dreams like this that can excite our imagination and get us to thinking about stretching beyond our comfort zone and jumping into the unknown in search of new adventures. And it is the adrenaline rush of new adventures that keeps us alive and in love with life. Grab a big bowl of white kernel popcorn and help save the ranch from the big bad guys along with little Bobby, his big sister 'Firey' and Wally, the tall, handsome government man who is dumb enough to live long and capture the bad guys.
The Bobby Nelson credit screen
Bobby Nelson and Hal Taliaferro
Bobby Nelson and Tiny Skelton watch as 'Dad' is shot in the back.
Bobby Nelson and Tiny Skelton talk about buying Bobby a new bigger pistol.
The title card for James Sheridan, William Desmond and Art Mix
The title screen for Fred 'Dad' Parker
Fred Parker is threatened by William Desmond
Gene Layman and Jimmy Aubrey
Hal Taliaferro get a job working for Fred Parker on his sheep ranch
Hal Taliaferro and Myrla Bratton get to know each other
Hal Taliaferro and William Desmond
Hal Taliaferro and Myrla Bratton chat
Hal Taliaferro comforts Myrla Bratton after 'Dad' Parker is shot in the back.
The credit screen for Hal Taliaferro - he uses the fake name of Wally Wales in this movie instead of his own name.
Hal Taliaferro tells Myrla Bratton that he will quit being a government agent and stay with Myrla to run the ranch.
Hal Taliaferro thinks about whether to stay with Myrla or move on.
Hal Taliaferro is tall in the saddle as he is about to rescue Myrla Bratton from a team of runaway horses.
Jack Jones and Francis Walker
Jack Jones as Sheriff
Jimmy Aubrey and Gene Layman
The screen credit for Myrla Bratton
William Desmond and Hal Taliaferro
William Desmond introduces himself and his henchmen to bartender Jimmy Aubrey