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One of the Best of Wayne's Lone Star Westerns
bsmith555226 June 2001
"Lucky Texan" is one of a series of Lone Star westerns made by Wayne between 1933-35. This one is a cut above the average. The plot involves Wayne and his partner (George Hayes) finding gold and the efforts of baddies Lloyd Whitlock and Yakima Canutt to cheat them out of it.

This film contains a couple of oddities for a series western. Firstly, while pursuing one of the bad guys on horseback, Wayne actually misses tackling him off of his horse and lands at the bottom of a ravine. But fear not. A large downward sloping sluce just happens to be nearby and the Duke grabs a tree branch, mounts it and slides down the sluce in time to leap up a tree and jump the fleeing villain. Secondly, the final chase sequence is also interesting in that the baddies are escaping in an old railway utility car and are pursued by Hayes in a vintage auto which criss crosses the tracks Keystone Cops style with the villains, and of course by Wayne on horseback.

It is also noteworthy that Hayes, who played many different characters in this series, plays Jake Benson very close to his eventual "Gabby" character, which he had not fully developed at this time. The series also benefited from the stunt work of Yakima Canutt who can be clearly seen doubling for Wayne and others in this entry.
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One of the best of the Lone Star productions
jpritch2 December 1999
John Wayne made 16 Westerns for Lone Star productions between 1933 and 1936. Many of them starred some of the same actors, (Wayne, Geo.(Gabby)Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Earl Dwyer etc.). The Lucky Texan is one of the best I've seen and I've seen nearly all of them. Sure the production techniques are primitive ( lots of jump cuts and zips, poor audio and editing) but these are marks of Bradbury's earlier films and only make these early films more interesting for me. Gabby Hayes is a laugh riot in drag in the courtroom scene and Canutt's "injun Joe" escape (through the open window of the courthouse) had me rolling. I loved this film. I'm glad I bought it.
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That Gabby's a Drag
bkoganbing16 September 2005
Unlike with most major film stars, John Wayne spent such a long apprenticeship in B westerns that you can't really put his pre-Stagecoach work with Stagecoach and beyond. It's like two different players altogether.

Bearing in mind that you can't apply the same standards of Lucky Texan with that of The Searchers, Lucky Texan was good Saturday afternoon matinée fair for the kiddies of 1934.

John Wayne and Gabby Hayes are partners in a blacksmith shop and they discover gold. Panning for it turns out to be quite profitable and they follow the advice of Walter Huston in Treasure of the Sierra Madre about not filing any claims. At least not too soon.

But the bad guys want to get their hands on the gold source and they dry gulch Gabby and they think they've killed him.

Unbeknownst to them, Gabby back in the day was an actor and did a turn in Charley's Aunt. Wayne and Gabby devise a plan to expose the villains and save the day.

Bear in mind that it was the lead in Charley's Aunt that Gabby played and you'll understand what Gabby does.

That bit put Lucky Texan a cut above the usual stuff John Wayne was doing before Stagecoach. It's still pretty amusing.
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A Good Lonestar Production
jayraskin124 September 2007
Gabby Hayes irascible sidekick performance and Yakima Canutt's excellent stunt work make this one quite watchable. Gabby is delightful, especially when he puts on a dress to testify at his own trial. The horse transfer stunt that doesn't work is really special. Yakima (doubling for Wayne) jumps on a fleeing horse from his own galloping horse, he misses and ends up rolling down a hill. One gasps and hopes he wasn't hurt.

With likable characters and a plot that keeps moving, this one is quite professional and on a par with a good Lone Ranger episode two decades later.
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Two Stories for the Price of One
dougdoepke8 June 2009
Looks like our friends at Lone Star put this one together on the fly. It's like they've got two plots going at the same time, and then decide to drop the one with bank robber Al (Eddie Parker) in favor of the other with Jake (Hayes) and his daughter (Sheldon). Nonetheless, there are some entertaining touches. The street fight with Wayne and Parker is especially energetic, two young guys in tip-top shape and well matched. I guess producers decided we Front Row kids had seen enough hard riding, so instead there's that nifty 3-way chase pitting horse against flivver against rail-car. The latter two are faster, but then the horse can go anywhere and we know who's got the horse. And is that Hayes actually duking it out with the bad guy. We only see the back of his head, at a time when the one-and-only Hayes was already pushing 50. Then there's that headlong slide down the sluice chute that looks like an Old West version of an E-ride at Disneyland. And what kid wouldn't have given his proverbial i- teeth to have been along on that one.

One reason I still like these Lone Star oaters is because of the young Wayne. Note how loose and relaxed he is; he's having fun out there in LA's outskirts with all his buddies in the crew and cast. He's just perfect for these matinée specials. But pity poor Barbara Sheldon as Betty. Director Bradbury has his hands full with the guys and the script, so here she is floundering around, doing her best, but looking like a confused puppy. Sadly, it appears she quit the business following this movie's wrap-up. No, this is not top-rank Lone Star, but then it's not every entry where we get to see knobby-knee Hayes in drag and his underwear. So there are compensations.

In passing—note how the assayer in his office quotes Hayes a price of $16 an ounce for gold. That was the price in 1933, and the trouble is it stayed at that price for the next 40 or so years because of gov't fiat. At the same time, the costs of mining gold were rising yearly. So the industry went into eclipse and that's why the metal that had so much to do with opening the West fell off the public's radar screen for so many years following WWII. Ironic.
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Keystone Cops and Charlie Chaplin meet Soapy Smith
weezeralfalfa30 August 2007
My title is meant to emphasize the silent era-like features of this and many other early sound westerns. If you are used to silent films, this shouldn't bother you that much. The villains often have the exaggerated look of many silent film counterparts. The brawls, horse chases and stunts also often have the exaggerated and amateurish look of many silent films. The filming technique also often looks relatively crude, like the cheaper silent films. People apparently shot dead often conveniently resurrect later with just a head graze(The 2 apparent murders in this film turn out this way). All those highly unlikely coincidences that make the story turn out right have a silent era feel to them. Thus, some of the scenes could almost be pulled from a silent era film. This includes Wayne's(actually stunt man Yakima Canutt's) long skid sitting on a convenient tree limb, through a long large sluice tunnel. This tunnel just happened to begin where he tumbled down a long hill after missing on an attempted rider tackle, and just happened to end up where he could make another tackle attempt from a tree. We can imagine Charlie Chhaplin or Buster Keaton doing the same thing in a slightly different context. Another comedic scene was the chase via Model T and horse of the badies escaping on a motorized rail utility car. The model T and railcar finally collide after a passed up opportunity.. In the finale, the frustrated photographer stalks off, stepping high in Charlie Chaplin style. The courtroom scene with George Hayes disguised as a female relative, followed by the villains smashing through the window, could almost have been pulled off in a silent western, with a few quote cards.

Aside from the comedic and stunt aspects, this film features a fairly complicated, if predictable, plot, with the operators of the mineral assay office running a general crime operation(somewhat like Soapy Smith), including rustling, claim and property swindling, gold weighing shaving and murder. They try to swindle Hayes out of his ranch and gold mine claims and put him 6 feet under. The sheriff's son is an independent badman. Both Wayne and Hayes spend a short time in jail as the chief suspect in murders. Each figures out how to get the other out legitimately and catch the real badmen. Barbara Sheldon, a curvaceous young blond, just happens to move in with grandpa Hayes shortly after Wayne does. She immediately takes to the Duke and he doesn't make any attempt to resist. All in all, its a better than average entertaining early sound western, and I'm glad I saw it.
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Early talkie in which John Wayne accompanied by George ¨Gaby¨ Hayes face ominous enemies who attempt to take their gold
ma-cortes20 June 2014
Jerry Mason (John Wayne) is a tough Eastner who goes West and meets Jake Benson (George Gaby Hayes who bears the comic relief , as usual), an old rancher, become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. The Young Texan and the old man then find their lives complicated by bad guys and a woman . The prospectors securing their gold discovery against mean villains . They find a mine and are successful, but when Jake sells some gold and after depositing the cash he is detained for the attempted murder of banker Williams . Meanwhile , Betty (Barbara Sheldon) arrives to live with Jake, but before she learns of his whereabouts , Jerry locates the guilty bunch and Jake is freed . But the nasty outlaws seek vengeance .

The picture gets thrills , Western action , shootouts , a love story , and several fights between Wayne and his enemies ; being quite entertaining . It's a low budget film with good actors , technicians, mediocre production values , pleasing results and usually regarded as one of the best Westerns made by John Wayne during his ¨Lone Star¨ period . The picture packs brawls and fights in silent cinema style and a final pursuit in Keystone wake . Nice acting by John Wayne as a young Texan who finds himself involved with claim jumpers , miners and ambitious guys . Very early Wayne has the Duke looking awfully young as cowboy securing his gold . Sympathetic performance from veteran George ¨Gaby¨ Hayes as short-tempered person , Gaby steals the show as when he get dressed in woman clothes and gives a special spectacle in court . Mediocre cinematography by Archie Stout , a notorious cameraman with a long career . Being necessary an alright remastering because of the film-copy is washed-out . The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film . Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely and usually badly edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duplicated from second- or third-generation or more copies of the film . The motion picture was professionally directed by Robert North Bradbury who made various early John Wayne vehicles .

John Wayne played a great role in the super-production ¨The big trail¨(1930) but he subsequently fell in B series during the thirties . Most of them in ¨Lone Star¨ productions , usually directed by Robert N. Bradbury , such as : ¨Rough romance¨, ¨The range feud¨, ¨Texas cyclone¨, ¨Two-fisted law¨, ¨Ride him cowboy¨, ¨Big stampede¨, ¨Haunted gold¨ , ¨The telegraph law¨, ¨Somewhere in Sonora¨ , ¨The man from Utah¨ , The man from Monterrey¨, ¨The lawless frontier¨ , ¨West of the divide¨, Rainbow Valley¨ , The desert trail¨ , The dawn rider¨, ¨Lawless range¨, The Oregon Trail¨ , and ¨Born in the west¨ . In 1938 he participated in Republic series with ¨The three musketeers¨ replacing Robert Livingston and in which George Sherman directed 8 films . Later on , Wayne starred the hit ¨The stagecoach¨ by John Ford and took part in ¨A movies¨ such as¨: ¨Allegheny uprising¨, ¨Dark command¨, ¨The spoilers¨, ¨In old California¨, ¨War of the wildcats¨, ¨Tall in the saddle¨, ¨Flame of the Barbary Coast¨ and ¨Dakota¨ . And financed his first production : ¨Angel and the badman¨ . Subsequently , with ¨Red River¨ John rose at top box-office and after that , he starred many successes .
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"Oh for goodness sake, I do love murder trials, don't you?"
classicsoncall2 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Jerry Mason (John Wayne) is fresh out of college and has sought out old friend Jake Benson (George pre "Gabby" Hayes). Together they open up a blacksmith shop, but wind up prospecting a gold strike after following up on a quartz nugget removed from a lame horse's hoof. Their mining work allows them to while away some time as they wait for Jake's granddaughter Betty (Barbara Sheldon) to arrive home from school.

The film offers the obligatory bad guys, this time in the form of the crooked assayers, Harris and Cole (Lloyd Whitlock and Yakima Canutt). The pair conspire to steal Jake's ranch by having him unknowingly sign the deed over to them, while looking for a way to hijack the gold strike as well. They think they have it made when they shoot Jake in the middle of the desert, and frame Mason for the murder when he gets into town.

There's an interesting sequence in both this film and another Lone Star Wayne film, "The Lawless Frontier", where Wayne's character pursues a bad guy by riding a makeshift flume through a drainage trough, heading him off at the pass so to speak. Although innovative, it's not very believable given the setting.

When it comes time for Mason to stand trial for Jake's murder, Jake shows up incognito, dressed in a woman's clothing. As he gets ready to testify, he trips over his dress and reveals who he is, as Harris and Cole attempt their getaway through the courthouse window. What follows is a Keystone Cop style sequence, with the baddies hijacking a rail car, Benson in an auto, and Mason giving chase on horseback.

In true Lone Star style, the picture closes with John Wayne's character winning the girl, and a fumbling wedding photographer ready to capture the moment. This time, Wayne even gets to give her a kiss.

John Wayne made a little over a dozen Westerns for Lone Star Productions from 1933 to 1935. They all followed a similar formula as outlined above, some obviously better than others. For fans of the series, I would recommend "Riders of Destiny" and "Sagebrush Trail" as two of the better entries.
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Duke And Gabby Kick It Around
slokes11 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Watching those two icons of early Westerns, John Wayne and George Hayes, play off each other years before people knew them as Duke and Gabby, is worth something. At least "The Lucky Texan" gives you that.

Jerry Mason (Wayne) and Jake Benson (Hayes) luck into a big gold strike, but their haul attracts the interest of some shady assayers who want not only the gold but Benson's ranch besides. Can Mason save Benson from wrongful imprisonment? Can Benson save Mason from same? Will Mason wind up with Benson's pretty granddaughter?

Spoiler alert - What do you think?

Wayne's Lone Star westerns are often criticized for formulaic plots, which is unfair here. You get two almost completely unconnected plots in this one. Neither makes sense, but at least they defy reasonable expectations that way. In the first, Benson gets arrested for murder by a sheriff who apparently didn't bother to make sure the victim was dead first. In the second, those assayers make their play for the gold with the subtlety of the 7th Cavalry.

The only thing "Lucky Texan" has going for it is lucky indeed: Duke and Gabby in their second-ever on screen pairing, the first one where Wayne didn't have to pretend to sing and play guitar. There's real pleasure to be had watching the two meet in their opening scene, even with their exposition-laden dialogue.

"Say, you're a regular mountain, ain't yuh?" Benson asks Mason right off, who grins easily in reply. You want to hang with these guys, however dull the story around them.

Lone Star did well with Wayne once they retired the singing cowboy shtick and worked humor more directly in his films, like here. "The Lucky Texan" actually goes pretty far in this direction, once the wheels come off story #2. Benson is the star of a wild courtroom scene which really deserves to be seen, for the total commitment of Hayes if nothing else. By movie's end, the villains are reduced to comic foils, which is fine as they weren't working as villains. I found the last 15 minutes pretty enjoyable overall. Not as thought-out or clever as it could have been, but fun.

All this doesn't quite redeem "Lucky Texan." It's just too goofy otherwise, like Wayne's big stunt riding an upright stick down a log flume to catch up with a bad guy after falling off his horse. You get some schlocky dialogue ("So that's your game, eh?" is something Hayes actually says when the bad guys get the draw on him) and head-scratching moments like why a bad guy trying to get a canteen of gold from a bucking mule doesn't just shoot the beast.

I'm glad he didn't; this is one Lone Star western where it's safe to say no animals were harmed in the production. It's not much to crow about otherwise, yet seeing Wayne and Hayes begin to define their enjoyable partnership is some compensation. Just try to ignore the feeble excuse of a plot being kicked around them.
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Duke Chases the Bad Guys....Repeatedly
utgard1427 April 2014
John Wayne and Gabby Hayes strike it rich with a gold mine. Inevitably some villains want to take it from them. This is one of the most interesting of the many B westerns Duke made in the '30s. For one thing, there are surprisingly few gunshots fired in this one. Everyone seems to settle their problems by fisticuffs or by chasing one another. There's a lot of chasing in this one. This leads to some good Yakima Canutt stunts, though.

Also, I'm not sure what era this was supposed to take place in. Lone Star wasn't known for caring about historical accuracy in these cheap B westerns. There were usually shots of telephone poles and the like in the background. In this one we not only have the usual background stuff but we have a Keystone Kops-style climax that features Gabby Hayes driving a car after the bad guys! This western, like the other B's made in the '30s, will seem pretty much like kids stuff today. But there is some fun to be had with it.
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An odd viewing experience...but still one of Wayne's best B-movies.
MartinHafer20 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen quite a few of John Wayne's B-movies that he made throughout the 1930s and this one certainly was unique. I saw it on the Encore Channel and noticed that the soundtrack was very, very modern--done with electrical instruments that hadn't been invented until very recently. Also, at times it really sounds out of place. However, the voice tracks are all original. Why was this done? Could anyone explain this to me?! It detracted a bit from an otherwise excellent B-western and I then noticed this in OTHER Wayne films on Encore. Whose hair-brained idea was this?!

"The Lucky Texan" stars John Wayne with George "Gabby" Hayes. You might not recognize Gabby at first. Some of this is because in the 1930s he still hadn't settled upon his old coot character yet--appearing in some of Wayne's films with his false teeth and dressed quite well. In this guise, he occasionally even played the villain. Here, he isn't quite the erudite character but not quite the coot, either--he's a bit of a transition. While missing the teeth and sounding like the old Gabby we all know and love, here he sports a mustache instead of a scraggly beard and is a bit less of a crazy character--at least for the first 3/4 of the film.

The movie begins with Wayne and his new partner discovering gold. However, instead of staking their claim and having it jumped, they decide to keep the location of their find a secret. Little do they know that the man in the gold assayer's office is part of a gang that includes many of the folks in town and they'll stop at nothing to steal the claim. First they try to frame Hayes for murder--and this fails. Then, he try to kill him and assume he's dead---though he survived and kept his whereabouts hidden. When men now claim that Hayes sold his property to them, Wayne is sure that there is a conspiracy afoot...and he investigates while Hays lies low. How Hayes manages to do this is a real hoot--but I won't say more--it would spoil the fun.

While the plot is pretty standard, how all this is handled is certainly not. Again, I can't really say more, as it would really miss a wonderful twist. Leave it to me when I just say that you MUST see this film if you like B-westerns. You'll see what I mean.

By the way, aside from the bad soundtrack that was tacked on later, isn't it odd to see ladies wearing 1930s-style dresses and seeing one of the good guys give chase in a model T Ford as two of the baddies rode off on an electric cart?! Apart from these anachronisms (and more), this looks like an old West film and it sure baffled me!
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Gold Fever
FightingWesterner13 November 2009
John Wayne and blacksmith George "Gabby" Hayes strike gold in a nearby creek, prompting crooked gold office employees into tricking Gabby into signing his property over to them in an attempt to get closer to the gold. Complicating things is the no good son of the town's sheriff who frames poor Gabby for attempted murder.

Another good film from the Duke's tenure as a Lone Star/Monogram contract star, this is fast-paced, well edited and a heckuva lot of fun.

As well as playing the chief heavy, Yakima Cannut appears to have performed every stunt in the movie himself. For example, in the scene where Wayne confronts the sheriff's son, the escaping villain turns into an easily recognizable Cannut who does a flying leap onto his horse. Wayne runs after him and also turns into Cannut. He then leaps onto White Flash and begins chasing himself!

A great climax begins with scene-stealer Gabby in a dress. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought he really was an old woman!
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One of the Different, Stranger Lone Stars
Chance2000esl18 August 2007
This one combines some of the usual aspects of the Lone Star films (evil businessmen, blonde (grand) daughter, (twice) falsely arrested for murder) with elements of comedy. Jerry Mason (John Wayne) works with 'Old Timer' Benson (George Hayes) (Hey! Wasn't he the same age as John Wayne?) at a blacksmith shop and then panning for gold with him. The evil assayer and his henchman Joe (Yakima Canutt) conspire to steal the deed to the ranch, but are foiled in a courtroom scene where George Hayes is in drag, 'looking' and speaking like a woman. This was his big star turn. If you want to see him as a vile, vile, villain, check out the clunky serial "The Lost City" (1935). John Wayne and George Hayes share lots of screen time together. If you like that, it's a plus; otherwise, it's a long 55 minutes. And why is Barbara Sheldon shown making strange faces with her head cocked sideways looking in a store window?

For some reason, we get bizarre chase sequences: Mason(actually the Great Yak) riding a tree branch down a tunneled sluice to capture a runaway villain (interesting though very unlikely given the locations); the evil doers escaping down railroad tracks in a motored rail car while being pursued by Mason on horseback and by Benson in an old hand cranked Tin Lizzie that keeps criss crossing the tracks as if they were all in a Keystone Kops or an Our Gang comedy.

I think only one gunshot was fired in the whole movie! The cowboy chases on horseback across wide open spaces shooting back and forth at each other were nowhere to be seen in this Western! Since it was made in 1933, perhaps these stock sequences of later westerns hadn't yet been written in stone. I guess we have to give it an E for effort. It looks, though, like a film made by committee. For me, all these disparate elements did not combine into a coherent film.
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Gold Diggers Strike Gold For Lone Star
frank412212 August 2019
Jerry Mason (John Wayne) reunites with Jake (Gabby Hayes) after many years. The town dog is actually the hero who strikes gold which sets the story in motion. Jake's granddaughter is not far behind, played by gorgeous Barbara Sheldon. The world's greatest stuntman, Yakima Canutt and Lloyd Whitlock are assayers who have their own plans for Jerry and Jake. The great western character actor, Earl Dwire is the sheriff and has his work cut out for him. His own son, played by Eddie Parker is complicating matters big time. The fight scene between Duke and Canutt is classic and Gabby's antics in the courtroom is one for the ages. If you love early westerns, The Lucky Texan can't be missed.
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Watchable B-oater with big hats and some memorable offbeat moments
jamesrupert20145 February 2019
'Gabby' Hayes in a dress, Yakima Canutt doing a daring 'horse to horse' tackle...and missing, a high-speed 'stick ride' down a long mining sluice, a chase involving a horse, a car, and a railroad speeder - any one of these novelties would have lofted 'The Lucky Texan' above the standard 'Lone Star Studios' budget horse-opera. A lot happens in 63 minutes: briefly, a couple of amazing coincidences (involving a lame horse and a playful dog) lead Mason (John Wayne) and Benson (George 'Gabby' Hayes) to a rich gold strike. Needless to say, there are a couple of "dirty lowdown polecats" (Lloyd Whitlock and Yakima Canutt) who connive to take it over (as well as steal Benson's ranch). Further complicating matters, the sheriff's ne'er'do'well son is willing to resort to violence and theft to cover his gambling debts, and both good-guys end up in the pokey accused of murder! 'The Lucky Texan' is one of about 80 low-budget westerns Wayne starred in before his breakout role in John Ford's 'Stagecoach' (1939) and the Duke is fine playing his standard good-natured, but tough, hero. Hayes, more of a co-star than a sidekick in this outing, gets to play an ol'timer who owns a dress and makeup box from his earlier career as a thespian starring in 'Auntie Mame' (there is an amusing scene in which Mason incorrectly guesses what part of a woman's anatomy a 'bustle pad' is supposed to enhance). Most of the action is pretty typical for the genre, with Yakima Canutt providing some excellent horse stunts (both as one of the villains and as Wayne's stunt-double). Needless to say, there is a tacked-in romantic subplot involving Benson's granddaughter (Barbara Sheldon) and Mason, but fortunately it doesn't waste too much celluloid. Not a great film by any means, but entertaining, action-packed and short, which is all that really can be asked of its humble genre (but a must see for 'Gabby' Hayes fans, if only for the climatic courtroom scene).
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Another solid early John Wayne western
Tweekums29 November 2018
This film opens with young man Jerry Mason reuniting with Jake Benson, a friend of his late father, who he hasn't seen since he was a child. Jake tells how he is no longer ranching due to rustlers but is thinking of opening a blacksmiths. Soon they are working at it together. When they re-shoe a horse they find a stone in its hoof that contains gold; from what the rider said they establish which creek it was in. They find plenty of gold there and take it to local assay office... not realising the man running it was responsible for stealing his cattle and now plans to take Benson's ranch and gold strike... first he needs to find where the gold is. Around the same time Benson's granddaughter returns to live with him.

Despite a somewhat weak opening and pantomime villain this film turned out really well. The plot is basic but provides an excuse for some good stunts. As well as the expected fisticuffs and horse chases there are some fairly original stunts; the most obvious being as Jerry rides down a fast flowing sluice to catch a bad guy and a final chase that features Jerry on a horse and Jake in a car chasing the villains who are aboard a small, powered railway workers vehicle. Most of these feature regular stuntman Yakima Cannut who as was often the case also plays a henchman. John Wayne is solid as Jerry but it is George 'Gabby' Hayes who steals the show as Jake; especially in an hilarious courtroom scene where he turns up in drag! Barbara Sheldon okay as Betty Benson but isn't really used enough to justify her second billing. Overall I'd say this is well worth watching if you are a fan of early westerns.
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One for Wayne fans!
JohnHowardReid12 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Copyright 15 January 1934 by Monogram Pictures Corp. A Lone Star Western. No New York opening. U.S. release: 6 January 1934. U.K. release through Pathé: 3 December 1934. 6 reels. 56 minutes.

SYNOPSIS: A blacksmith and his partner find gold in a creek bed.

COMMENT: George Hayes puts on his "Gabby" voice for this one. Even though he doesn't wear the "Gabby" costume and make-up, he does give us a cleverly done old lady impersonation by way of a bonus. But even of more interest than Gabby are two outstanding action chase sequences. Halfway through Wayne jumps for Parker from horseback - but misses. So he literally skates after him down a storm-water channel.

The climax finds both our heroes in hot pursuit of the two villains; Wayne on horseback, Hayes in an old jalopy versus Whitlock and Canutt on a speeding rail handcar. The handcar is used not only for thrilling near-misses with the flivver, but as a camera mount for exciting running inserts and tracking shots.

Incidentally, in that otherwise excellent book on John Wayne and the Movies by Allen Eyles, the photo purporting to be from The Lucky Texan is wrongly captioned. The still actually shows Wayne, Hayes and Cecilia Parker in Riders of Destiny. Miss Parker is a petite blonde, but Miss Sheldon is smaller in stature and is neither as pretty nor as personable.

However, Barbara's role in The Lucky Texan rates as rather inconsequential. Not only does she make a late entrance, but she figures very little in either of the movie's two interconnected stories.

The movie suffers from the usual Lone Star defects of "B"-slow pacing and directorial whip pans (used for scene changes) that don't quite work, but Canutt has opportunities not only to act the villain but to double for Wayne in some thrilling stuntwork, while Wayne himself comes across in a most agreeable and sympathetic manner.

Despite its small budget and obviously hasty shooting schedule, The Lucky Texan (the title has little to do with the plot. Hayes is the one who is "lucky". Not only does he find the gold - admittedly assisted by the Texan - but escapes death twice) comes over as one of the most exciting and most interesting of the Lone Stars. Certainly it's tops in the all-important action department.
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Ordinary plotting, fun action
Leofwine_draca13 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
THE LUCKY TEXAN is another of the B-movie westerns that John Wayne made for Lone Star back in the 1930s. It's a fast-paced and amusing little picture in which Wayne and his buddy play gold prospectors who decide to open a mine, only to be attacked by murderous rivals. This film is notable for featuring plentiful action sequences and a minimum of plotting. There are a lot of two-fisted bouts, a hilarious stunt sequence of Wayne water-skiing, and a classic rail cart chase climax which certainly lifts a smile or two. It's strictly ordinary, but still infinitely more entertaining than much modern-day fare.
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Crossdressing in the old west
zeppo-220 July 2005
One of the pleasures of watching old films like this is seeing some of the more bizarre twists and turns.

Here we have the veteran actor Gabby Hayes in an early role disguising himself in drag to come to the rescue of John Wayne who has been accused of Gabby's own murder. To make sure he isn't recognise by the real villains, he uses his old theatre background to pass incognito.

Oh, I bet that excuse has been used by a lot of other transvestites in the past, "Just throwing a dress on, dear, to go help someone in need." Sadly, Gabby makes one of the ugliest women I've ever seen, you think he could have made more of an effort. Get a makeover, darling! The rest of the film is very much your basic western, evil land grabbers and gold stake claim jumpers. With some horse chases and fist fights thrown in.

But it's moments like Gabby's that some of us live for, that spark of strangeness in something otherwise rather dull. Sometimes you never know quite what you'll come across.
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Oh so silly western with the young Duke long before his climb to King of the Box Office.
mark.waltz21 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When John Wayne & George "Gabby" Hayes strike it rich in the mine, a group of mustache twirling villains become determined not only to find the location of the mine, but to get Gabby's property as well. Over a long stretch of 53 minutes, the Duke is framed for murder, but "Gabby" has a trick up his sleeve in his old costume box-the dress from a production of "Charley's Aunt" he uses to outwit the villains. So if anybody ever asks you what John Wayne movie has a man in drag, you can tell them Gabby Hayes in this one. There is also a silly sequence where Wayne rides across the range while someone else is sliding over a waterway on what appears to be some sort of stick. (Broomstick, perhaps?) Fortunately, it's all over and resolved in less than an hour, and results in some laughs-at the film's expense.
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The viewer should be so lucky.
Mike-76428 December 2004
Jerry Mason finishes college and goes back to live on the ranch of his father's best friend, Jake Benson. Mason and Benson soon find a rich vein of gold in a nearby creek and are able to secretly mine the gold and bring it in to the assay office of Harris and his partner Cole. Harris tries to figure out where Benson's mine is located, but the two won't disclose it at the moment. Harris figures out that the mine must be near Benson's ranch, so he tricks Benson into signing the deed over to Harris. After Benson is released from jail following his arrest for the attempted murder of the banker (actually done by the sheriff's son to pay off a gambling debt to Harris), Harris and Cole decide to strike, ambushing Benson in the desert and framing Mason for the crime, then trying to take over the ranch. Benson is able to make it back to his ranch and sends Betty (his visiting granddaughter) to Mason, where he devises a plan to capture the real crooks. The film is a letdown for Wayne with his only memorable scene being him riding down a log flume on a stick to capture Parker. Hayes is great here, first showing the Gabby/Windy characteristics that would make him a B western icon. Sheldon is terrible here and appears she won the role in a raffle, and is nearly as bad as the script and directing by Bradbury, who is unable to keep a constant flow in the movie. The subplot with the sheriff's son shooting the banker and Benson's arrest has nothing to do with the rest of the film and the ending best belongs in a Keystone Kops short rather than this film. Rating, based on B westerns, 3.
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Most American Capitalists are Dirty Rotten Scoundrels . . .
oscaralbert15 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
. . . is the over-riding lesson of THE LUCKY TEXAN. When they have their Druthers, they'll rustle your cattle, swindle you out of your ranch, and swipe your gold mine, too, TEXAN teaches us. If these Fat Cat Robbers slip up enough so that there's a whiff of Crime in the air, they'll finger any surviving VICTIMS for these peccadilloes, with their legal lapdog sheriffs and judges only too eager to make such Trumped-up charges stick. All of the above takes place in TEXAN, as whistle-blower John Wayne yet again unmasks "The Men Behind the Curtain" (before he himself fell prey to Bad Influences, such as the infamous Yellow-Striper Ford, who back-shot Jesse James--or was it Dalton Trumbo?--when JOHNNY GOT HIS GUN). Good may appear victorious over Evil as TEXAN concludes, since it predates--by decades--Wayne's Evil Triumphant Trilogy (THE ALAMO, RIO BRAVO, and CHISUM), all of which feature a lawless Wayne killing good guys by the dozens. Too bad TEXAN writer\director Robert N. Bradbury did not put out ALL John Wayne movies.
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early duke
kairingler10 January 2014
A man at the dying request of his father goes out west to live with his father's old friend,, he finds the man is not well off,, so they open up a blacksmith shop,, and one day, when one of the horses comes back from the trail, they notice that under one of the hooves is some gold stuck in there,, so they retrace the horse's footsteps back to an old mine,, they have struck it rich,, so when the one man decides to turn in some of the gold at the asseyor's office, he is secretly trailed by another man,, shoots his friend,, and there you go,, he is blamed for the fellow's death,, very interesting picture,, don't want to say much more as to not give away anything,, but it was very enjoyable to watch a very young John Wayne, and also George "Gabby" Hayes..
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watch a bit of nostalgia
jfarms19565 December 2013
The Lucky Texan will appeal most to baby-boomers. This should be my type of movie. However, young John Wayne does not appeal to me in this western. I like westerns. This would have satisfied me as a child growing up. Now, the westerns are more sophisticated in almost all aspects. The movie to me was almost comedic. I do like Gabby Hayes in the movie. He did remind me of me being a child watching these types of westerns. It is thankfully short. So, if you have an afternoon and want to watch a bit of nostalgia, then bring on the popcorn. Otherwise, I found most of the acting lacking and the script boring. The Lucky Texan is worth watching to see how much growth John Wayne did as an actor. I thought Stagecoach was better. Enjoy.
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