After an evening of working with the dog on heel training and teaching him the off command (so that he stays off of my leather sofa), the night wound down and I felt myself getting bored. My wife was half asleep watching Property Virgins on TV, so I thought I would sneak off and have a cigar while wrapping up my John Wayne Collection DVD set.
The last film in the set is entitled Frontier Horizon, this flick was released in 1939 and runs a whopping 57 minutes. Unlike the first five films, this one is not produced by Lone Star, but instead Republic Productions.
This film starts off at the end of the Civil War. With crippling reconstruction needed, thousands of of Americas were forced to cut ties and travel west in order to find new beginnings. The scene changes to a family of three riding a horse and carriage out to a valley. The mother overlooks the valley and begins to cry, speaking about the new surrounding bringing new hope.
The film then jumps 50 years into the future during a reenactment of the pony express. We learn that the name of the area is New Hope Valley. During a celebratory dinner, it is announced that the state has condemned the valley and plans to build a dam to flood it with water to act as a reservoir for the growing city nearby. The townspeople are furious and threaten to fight.
As city works begin coming into the valley to survey and begin work, the townspeople erupt into gunfire and run them off. As time passes there is a court case that declares that the greater good, for the greater number, rules in this case and that the ranchers must sell their land to the state.
Some of the townspeople refuse to sell and tear up their checks, then setup a road block to prevent workers from passing through their land. After a battle erupts, the ranchers are thrown in jail and eventually pitched the idea of buying land in another area. This new land comes at a price, in exchange they get twice the acreage of their old ranches as well as funds remaining to cover their first years expenses.
Before long a deal is struck and work begins on the dam. The ranchers are told their new land (desert land) will be fed water by a new pipeline which goes in as the dam is built. On moving day the ranchers discover that the pipeline was never built and that they all purchased worthless land. In an effort to right the wrong, the Three Mesquiteers (Stony Brooke played by John Wayne, Tucson Smith played by Ray Corrigan, and Rusty Josslin played by Raymond Hatton) race into to the city only to be held at gunpoint in order for the project to be completed.
After busting out of captivation, the Three Mesquiteers race to the dam, which has been opened to flood the valley, in order to prevent the homes from being washed away. They arrive too late but manage to bust up the construction crew and hold things off until a court could convict the swindlers. After conviction, the new pipeline was complete and the townspeople had a new place to live.
While this film wasn’t what I would have expected out of a typical western, it was nice to watch. Production quality on this film was excellent in comparison to the ones produced by Lone Star. The use of mood music was also introduced in this film, which was not present in the previous five.