Heritage of the Desert, or When the West was Young (September 30, 1932)
Released on September 30, 1932: An evil gambling hall owner means to own the entire valley, and the Naab ranch is the only thing in his way.
Directed by Henry Hathaway
Written by Zane Grey, Harold Shumate and Frank Partos.
The Actors: Randolph Scott (Jack Hare), Sally Blane (Judy), J. Farrell MacDonald (Adam Naab), David Landau (Judson Holderness), Gordon Westcott (Snap Naab), Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams (Lefty), Vince Barnett (Windy), Charles Brinley (Naab ranch hand), Fred Burns (rancher Bob Burns), Jim Corey (henchman Ed Slade), Frank Ellis (barfly), Susan Fleming (girl at roulette table), Billy Franey (Naab ranch hand), William Gillis (cowhand), Merrill McCormick (henchman), Lew Meehan (henchman Red), Vester Pegg (Naab ranch hand), Jack Pennick (Fred, cowboy), Tex Phelps (Naab ranch hand), Hal Price (bartender), Bob Reeves (Naab ranch hand), Joe Rickson (Joe), Charles Stevens (sheep herder Pancho).
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When you have a Zane Grey story, you have a tale of early American pioneers that is rich with color, well-developed characters, and a thrill a minute. And when you team two of Hollywood's finest leading actors, you are in for a really good hour of entertainment. This tale teams a tall, cool drink of water hunk Randolph Scott with the sexy Sally Blane, member of one of Hollywood's acting family dynasties. Grab your white kernel popcorn and get ready for a story of life, love, sacrifice and survival in the American old west.
Here's the set-up for this Zane Grey adventure:
Two men settle in a valley with mountains on either side. One of them has a young daughter; the other has a young son. The daughter's parents are killed when she is very young, and Judy is raised by her father's partner, Adam Naab. Naab plans for his son to marry Judy when they are old enough, and Judy seems to be happy with this. But we need to get a bad guy into this mix, so we next meet rancher and gambling hall owner Judson Holderness. Now Holderness is an amoral fellow that would spit on his mother's grave if it would profit him. He is determined to own everything in this area, and Naab's ranch is the only thing keeping him from total domination of the area. Fortunately for him, Naab's boy likes to gamble, and is very good at losing. So Holderness has Naab pay off his gambling debts by stealing some of his dad's cattle every once in a while. All of a sudden the thought of Judy marrying him doesn't sit too well with us. Ahhh, but wait . . . we still haven't met our leading man Randolph Scott. One day he enters the Holderness saloon and gambling hall, and lets them know that he is a surveyor looking for the Naab ranch. Old man Naab wants his land surveyed and registered so that Holderness will not be able to get it from him by any trickery.
Well, there are a bunch of juicy details that I'm leaving out . . . you will enjoy them as they unfold. Anyway, push comes to shove on Judy's wedding day to corrupt son Naab. Judy is in love with Jack (Randolph Scott), and runs away to her mountain cabin, leaving the Naab boy at the altar, so to speak. But at the cabin is Holderness and his henchmen. They plan on descending down to the Naab ranch the morning after the wedding and shooting it out with the Naabs, and taking over the ranch. So Judy walks right into their midst when she arrives at the cabin, and is captured and held by the outlaw Holderness folk. And I won't tell you exactly what happens next, but Jack can't save her, because the Naab boy just shot him. So both of our 'good guys' are in a mighty heap of trouble, and it will take a master story teller the likse of Zane Grey to bring this one to a happy ending.