The Lucky Texan

  • Also known as Gold Strike River
  • Written and Directed by Robert N. Bradbury
  • January 22, 1934

Two men strike it rich and make the mistake of trusting the local assayer.

John Wayne really slummed it when he started out. He did nothing but disposable junk. Not even a moment of near greatness (other than The Big Trail) until Stagecoach. As B Westerns go this isn’t too bad but it’s nothing great. None of his trademark mannerisms exist. He does not speak slowly or carefully move about a scene. Missing is his tough stare and general presence. Those alone would have helped improve what we got. It is very kid friendly in a bad way.

John Wayne plays handsome stranger Jerry Mason who comes to town to live with his father’s friend Jake “Grandy” Benson (George “Gabby” Hayes) after going to college per his father’s final wishes. Seriously. That whole thing just sounds weird. I get the going to college part but go shack up with my elderly friend? How does that work? Your mind can go down some really weird paths on this if you think too long.

The story involves underhanded assayers trying to do everything underhanded they can to get gold and money and stuff. Here they’ve stolen Grandy’s cattle (prior to the start of the film unbeknownst to him) and once our heroes find gold they are after that too. The gold is kept on a secret claim that they go through a very convoluted way to keep hidden. This all leads to your basic evil swindlers type story.

One of my bigger questions is when is this set? I was left with the impression this was set in the Old West initially but we have a Model T Ford (or something like that) and there is mentioned the electric chair so it must’ve been set in the relative present day. Then again this was not art but rather just a disposable film meant to get your money and be forgotten. Anachronisms were not a concern most likely.

The Lucky Texan seems to take some of its cues from The Keystone Cops in the weird finale chase. There is also some comedic drag from Grandy as he dabbles in his old theater days. He kept a rather quality set of women’s clothing for decades and uses it rather convincingly to sneak into a courtroom unnoticed. I had trouble recognizing him! It would be one thing to use it to sneak into the courtroom but he runs with it and develops a whole character before being found out. This might be the modern era affecting my thinking, but this movie gets inexplicably very weird at points.

And what is a B Western without an inconsequential girlfriend? And this one is seriously inconsequential. Betty (Barbara Sheldon) is Grandy’s daughter. She shows up and does very little other than marry Jerry in the closing minutes of the film. I am not expecting too dynamic of a female character, but I would appreciate it if she at the minimum found herself in danger. While married off, she does not even get a forced romance built up. Wedding bells ring out of left field just because.

If you cannot tell there’s not too much story here. And what story it does have stumbles from Point A to Point B to Point C until the finale. It’s just one random element after another all connected by a gold strike.

The Lucky Texan is something that would certainly be entertaining to young children but for adults and John Wayne fans I don’t think they will get too excited over it. It’s very kid friendly. Unless you’re a serious fan and want to expose yourself to his entire filmography this is something you could skip.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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