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The Lawless Frontier (1934)

John Tobin's (John Wayne) parents are killed by an outlaw. John teams up with Dusty to find the bad guy. Mystic Nights Videos

The Lawless Frontier is a 1934 American Western (genre) film directed by Robert N. Bradbury and starring John Wayne, Sheila Terry (actor), George "Gabby" Hayes, and Earl Dwine.


The movie opens with a family shooting from the window of their home, as they are robbed of their cattle. John Tobin (John Wayne) arrives home later that night and discovers his family killed and their cattle missing.
John Wayne (Tobin) sets out in search Pandro Zanti (Earl Dwire) the local bandito, for all appearances a stereotyped Mexican, though the script is twice caul to tell us he is half white & half Apache & only pretends to be Mexican.
Zanti plans to kidnap George "Gabby" Hayes's daughter Ruby (Sheila Terry (actor)) for his lusty needs. This is an unusual villainous trait for 1930s matinee westerns, aimed at young audiences who expected villains to be claim jumpers & killers, not rapists. Ruby & her daddy (George "Gabby" Hayes) hightail it out of there before she falls victim of the killer, escaping by a clever ruse [hidden in a large gunny sack] that almost gets Ruby drowned in a river.
They run into Tobin tracking his family's killers. Tobin then saves the sack containing Ruby. Ruby, Dusty & Tobin thereafter join forces.
Sheriff Luke Williams (Jack Rockwell) playing the tough sheriff who not only immediately takes credit for capturing Zanti when Tobin brings him in, but also arrests Tobin for the murder of Ruby's father Dusty who took a knife deep in the back & fell down dead. But it is discovered Dusty only received a superficial wound.
Sheriff Williams however makes a series of mistakes including handcuffing a bad guy's boot to a bed, so that all he has to do is take off his boot to escape, especially when Tobin made of point of telling Williams that Zanti can probably get loose.
A chase ensues, across the desert partly on foot, with Tobin after Zanti. The villain drinks from a desert watering hole, but in his fatigued state he does not see the sign marked "Poison. Do not drink," He dies soon thereafter.
With the chief villain now out of the picture, we're treated to plenty more hard ridin' and shootin', as Ruby & Tobin flee from Zanti's gang. When the happy ending finally arrives, Tobin becomes the new sheriff, replacing the inept Luke Williams.


  • John Wayne as John Tobin
  • Sheila Terry (actor) as Ruby
  • Jack Rockwell as Marshal John B. Walton
  • George "Gabby" Hayes as Dusty (as George Hayes)
  • Jay Wilsey as 2nd Zanti Henchman (as Buffalo Bill Jr.)
  • Yakima Canutt as Joe, Zanti's Henchman
  • Gordon De Main as Deputy Miller (as Bud Wood)
  • Earl Dwire as Pandro Zanti, alias Don Yorba

See also

  • John Wayne filmography
  • List of American films of 1934

Category:1934 films
Category:American films
Category:English-language films
Category:Black-and-white films
Category:Films directed by Robert N. Bradbury
Category:Monogram Pictures films
Category:1930s Western (genre) films

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