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Wagons Westward

Wagons Westward(1940)

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Brief Synopsis

Republic, in pre-producion trade announcements, had John Wayne slated as the star of this film but cooler heads, once the script was read, realized that Wayne wasn't exactly the dual-role, twin brothers type. The film opens by establishing that, as young boys, David Cook (Wayne Hull) and twin brother Tom (Warren Hull (II) ) are poles apart in disposition and traits. When their father, (Trevor Bardette) dies, Tom goes to New Mexico to live with his Uncle Hardtack (George "Gabby" Hayes) while David remains behind to care for their mother (Virginia Brissac) . The grown Tom (Chester Morris) becomes an outlaw while brother David (Chester Morris) becomes a government lawman. David is charged with apprehending Tom and also two other renegades, Hardman (Guinn Williams) and Marsden (Douglas Fowley), both bitter enemies of Tom. Unable to arrest Tom in his home territory because he is in league with crooked sheriff McDaniels (Buck Jones, in his only Republic film and only villain role in what is considered the only black mark against Republic by hard-core western fans. They are correct, for that and other reasons seen as this one moves along...slowly.) Tom is lured home by a fake telegram telling him his mother is dying and put in jail. David, posing as Tom, goes to Mesa City, New Mexico and undertakes a campaign to obtain evidence to convict Hardman and Marsden. He persuades the latter to pool their interests in one gang, under his leadership. Tom had been romancing Phyllis O'Conover (Anita Louise), an entertainer at the Bonanza Cafe, and Phyllis' older sister, Julie (Ona Munson), has been working hard to break up the romance. David, posing as Tom, has to continue the pursuit of Phyllis, but finds himself falling in love with Julie. Julie learns Tom's real identity and agrees to marry him but Phyllis, thinking her sister is taking from her the man she believes to be Tom Cook, threatens suicide. The broken-hearted Julie urges David to marry Phyllis and David, much against his own desires, carries out Julie's wishes. (The mis-casting of Buck Jones isn't the only problem with this film.) Meanwhile, Hardman, Marsden and McDaniel have discovered David's real identity and plot to get rid of him. And in another meanwhile, Tom escapes, returns to town and, finding that Phyllis has married David, kills her for what seems to him to be her unfaithfulness, never mind that she thought David was Tom. Some days, a good girl just can't get a break. Tom and the other outlaws are lined up against David in a gun battle when Pima (Charles Stevens), Tom's Indian servant, who has long hated him for his cruelties, brings a large force of Indians to David's aid. Tom attempts to kill David, but Uncle Hardtack shoots him first. Some days, a bad guy just can't get a break either.

Cast & Crew

Lew Landers Director
Chester Morris David Cook/Tom Cook
Anita Louise Phyllis O'Conover
Buck Jones Sheriff Jim McDaniels
Ona Munson Julie O'Conover
Douglas Fowley Bill Marsden
Virginia Brissac Angela Cook
SEE ALL CAST AND CREW

Additional Details

MPAA Ratings:  Premiere Info:  not available
Release Date:  1940 Production Date:  none available
Color/B&W:  Black and White Distributions Co:  Republic Pictures Corp.
Sound:  Mono Production Co:  Republic Pictures Corp.
Duration(mins):  70 Country:  United States
Duration(feet):  not available    
Duration(reels):  8    

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