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The Crooked Trail (1936)

Jim Blake rescues criminal Hare Talton and Good Samaritan Estaban Solano from dehydration and death and tries to rehabilitate Harve by taking him in as partner in his gold strike.


S. Roy Luby


George H. Plympton (original story and screenplay)


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Complete credited cast:
Johnny Mack Brown ... Jim Blake
Lucile Browne ... Helen Carter
John Merton ... Harve Tarlton
Charles King ... Lanning
Ted Adams ... Estaban Solano
John Van Pelt John Van Pelt ... Tex
Ed Cassidy ... Grimby (as Edward Cassidy)
Horace Murphy ... Carter


After Jim Blake saves Harve Tarlton's life, they become partners in a gold mining claim. After a while Harve reverts to his outlaw way of life. Everyone but Jim seems to know that Harve is bad but Jim merely thinks he needs a chance to go straight. But Jim's wife Helen has a plan to expose Harve as the outlaw he is. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A NEW SADDLE AND GUN SAGA! (original poster - all caps) See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 July 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lead Law See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Supreme Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TV cut)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The earliest documented telecasts of this film took place in Los Angeles Monday 30 May 1949 on KNBH (Channel 4), in Philadelphia Tuesday 12 July 1949 on Frontier Playhouse on WPTZ (Channel 3), and in Salt Lake City Friday 21 October 1949 on KDYL (Channel 4). See more »


Lanning: [to his friend when Jim and Harve ride off together] A good one and a bad one ride together. They cannot always ride in peace.
See more »


Edited into Six Gun Theater: The Crooked Trail (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

"The Crooked Trail" Leads to a Satisfying B-western
5 November 2019 | by glennstenbSee all my reviews

"The Crooked Trail" is a solid entry in the Johnny Mack Brown book, featuring a cast of B-western favorites and a story that needs to be followed carefully to most fully enjoy the show. It is somewhat hard to believe that smart and seemingly savvy Jim Blake (JMB) could be deceived for so long about the dangerously mean character of the man whose life he saved out in the desert's local badlands, especially since everyone else he knew tries to warn him, even his female love interest (the two men have more than one interaction of what seems to be affectionate horsing around that may seem a little surprising when contrasting yesterday's sensibilities with today's). This film is consistently entertaining. However, it becomes increasingly grim as the characters' relationships become ever more complex and sometimes strained (it is always interesting to view a film that shows a basically happy and breezy hero caught up in distressing turmoil). The acting is good in general, with the exception of leading lady Lucille Browne, who gives a consistently weak read. John Merton has a juicy role as the supporting very bad badman and does a fine job with it; he seems to pop up everywhere all the time and has almost as much screen time as JMB. The rest of the cast are familiar stablemates and it is fun just to look at all those fabulous faces. Plus the good ol' dependably photogenic Vasquez Rocks make yet another Oscar-worthy appearance. "The Crooked Trail" is a story-propelled movie for sure, but the direction and the cinematography could have been a little more polished. And one more thing... the fight scenes are strong and not for the faint of heart. But when Johnny Mack Brown wasn't fighting he had such a warm and reassuring presence that he must have made a lot of girls in the audience swoon! Enjoy the movie!

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