Friday, 13 December 2013

Paradise Canyon (1935)



This film casts John Wayne as a federal agent who is sent to crack a counterfeiting ring. For contrived reasons, he's instructed to do this by joining a medicine show that travels through the area where the authorities believe the bad bills are being made. How he should get the show to let him join isn't said, so it's fortunate that he finds them in a bit of a bind: their motorised wagon has broken down just short of the county border, and the local sheriff is pursuing them (the show's owner, Dr Carter, got drunk and tore up a drug store). Wayne's horse provides the power to get them beyond the reach of the sheriff's authority, and he's able to finagle a job doing trick shooting for the medicine show.

It should come as no surprise that Doc Carter has a comely and available daughter (one who naturally has a lot more responsible attitude than her drunkard, con man father, so she'll make a good match for Wayne's lawman). She'd obviously be the love interest, even if she wasn't the only woman in the cast.

This is another of the more-or-less interchangeable westerns that Wayne made in the 1930s. He engages in horse chases, gun play and fisticuffs, then catches the counterfeiter and gets the girl. The film's only notable elements are Doc Carter's motorised wagon - it's a change from the usual steam trains and horses of the genre - and the off-hand racism ("Before man ever set foot in this country, when only the Indians lived here ...").

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