The Telegraph Trail/Somewhere in Sonora/The Man From Monterey [DVD]

This triple-feature western DVD compiles three of the low-budget -- and that's putting it mildly -- westerns that John Wayne made for Warner Bros. at the outset of his career. Wayne is better in them than he is in some of his non-western roles of the same period, and for the action scenes he is among the best elements in each of these movies -- but that's not saying much, at least in two of them. The production values on The Telegraph Trail and The Man From Monterey are threadbare in the extreme, and even some of the familiar faces from better movies -- such as Frank McHugh in The Telegraph Trail -- seem off-balance and doing far from their best work. The Man From Monterey, in particular, looks incredibly inept in its direction, casting, and almost every other element of the production, and only the energy that Wayne brings to the action scenes, and the comic relief assistance from Luis Alberni, lend it any distinction. The latter movie and The Telegraph Trail also look to be in pretty rough shape, in terms of the materials used for this DVD, but they're probably the best elements that exist on these programmers, neither of which could ever have been expected to be of any interest five years later, forget 75 years later. Old movie buffs, however, may enjoy The Telegraph Trail for the presence of Otis Harlan in a very good comic-relief performance; and Somewhere In Sonora looks pretty good, and it does offer a satisfying late-career performance by Henry B. Walthall, as well as the first shared screen time between Wayne and actor Paul Fix, who were to remain friends for decades after and work together in numerous movies. The DVD has been produced with no frills (and barely any chapters), rather like the movies themselves.
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Somewhere in Sonora
In this western, John Wayne plays a bronc buster who flees to Mexico after he is falsely accused of rigging a stagecoach race. Living as an outlaw, he joins a gang and finds that the son of his old rodeo boss has been roped into joining them. While trying to save the youth from a life of crime, The heroic Wayne also manages to save a silver mine and find true love. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

The Telegraph Trail
Directed by Tenny Wright, The Telegraph Trail features John Wayne as John Trent, a calvary scout who has been sent to put a stop to sleazy opportunist Gus Lynch's (Albert J. Smith) crooked business dealings. Lynch (Smith) has convinced High Wolf (Yakima Canutt), a local Native American tribe leader, that his people must delay the completion of the first transcontinental telegraph line unless they wanted their entire tribe to be wiped out by the consequent influx of white men. This action, which only benefits Lynch's (Smith) greed, creates an uprising from the Native Americans that results in the harm of the men working on the construction of this historical telegraph system. Luckily, the injustice doesn't last for long once Trent (Wayne) comes to town. The Telegraph Trail also features actors Frank McHugh and Otis Harlan, as well as actress Marceline Day. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

The Man from Monterey
The Man From Monterey was the last of John Wayne's "B"-westerns for Warner Bros. The Duke plays U.S. army captain John Holmes, dispatched to Monterey to convince the ranchers to register their long-standing Spanish land grants, lest their property fall into the hands of undeserving strangers. This makes Holmes the enemy of local land swindler Don Luis Gonzales (Donald Reed), who has been plotting to grab up all the acreage for himself. Holmes must race against time to prevent Gonzales from achieving his goal by marrying Dolores (Ruth Hall), the daughter of the richest landowner (Lafe McKee) in the territory. John Wayne looks most uncomfortable in his ill-fitting army uniform and fancy-dancy Mexican duds -- but no more uncomfortable than Ken Maynard, who appears in the silent stock footage which is spread throughout The Man From Monterey. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Henry B. Walthall
    Henry B. Walthall - Bob Leadly
  • Image coming soon
    Shirley Palmer - Mary Burton
  • Image coming soon
    Frank Rice - Riley
  • Image coming soon
    Billy Franey - Shorty
  • Paul Fix
    Paul Fix - Bart Leadly

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