West of the Pecos


1h 8m 1935

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 4, 1935
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Dec 1934
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel West of the Pecos by Zane Grey (New York, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Film Length
7 reels

Synopsis

After the Civil War, Colonel Lambeth returns to his country home in Georgia and is reunited with his daughter Terrill. Broke and with no immediate prospects, Lambeth and Terrill decide to sell their property and go West together to re-start their lives. Accompanied by their former slaves, Jonah and Mauree, Lambeth and Terrill start a caravan for Texas. After she is harassed severely by two lecherous gamblers in San Antonio, Terrill dons male clothing, while her father buys a herd of cattle with their savings. At the same time, Pecos Smith, a rowdy but honest cowboy working outside San Antonio, learns that fellow cowpunchers Sam and Breen Sawtell have been spreading rumors that he is a cattle rustler. Sure that the Sawtells are gossiping in an attempt to cover their own guilt, Pecos rides into San Antonio and confronts the brothers in a cantina. After Sam draws his pistol on him, Pecos kills Sam and another cohort and, with Terrill's unwilling help, escapes the cantina before Breen returns his fire. Later, while Lambeth drives his cattle west, Terrill and Pecos meet on the range, and Terrill hires the boastful Pecos as a hand. Although exasperated by Pecos' endless teasing, Terrill maintains her manly disguise and tries desperately to impress him with her masculine abilities. As the group nears the Pecos River, Breen and another rustler plot to steal Lambeth's cattle once the herd has crossed the river. While Pecos warns Lambeth about the fierce Comanche Indians who live near his just purchased ranch, Manuel Gomez, Lambeth's Mexican guide, spots Breen and warns Lambeth to be wary of rustlers. After Pecos confesses to Terrill his past with Breen, they reach the much-needed water of the Pecos River. Annoyed that Terrill refuses to undress and swim with him, Pecos tosses her from her horse as they lead the herd across the river. Terrill nearly drowns in the rushing water, and Pecos pulls her unconscious body to the river shore, where he discovers her true sex. Although Pecos keeps Terrill's secret, she fires him in a fury, and he eventually rejoins his two cohorts, Wes and Court. After the Lambeths settle into their new ranch, however, Pecos, who with Wes and Court has started his own modest cattle operation, learns that they are struggling financially and once again offers his services. Despite her love for Pecos, Terrill is unable to reveal her secret and fights with him when he shows interest in another woman. Impatient with Terrill, Pecos quits the ranch and, while Breen, who has stolen 150 steers from Lambeth, implicates him in town as a rustler, rides back to his own ranch. After Breen tells Lambeth that Pecos is the rustler, he and Lambeth ride to Pecos' ranch and catch Court and Wes burning off the brands from cattle that they had stolen back from Breen. During the ensuing confrontation, Pecos, who has abandoned Court and Wes in disgust, sees a group of Comanches descending on his ranch. While Pecos fights with the armed Indians, Breen flees in fear, leaving Lambeth to be shot in the chest. Sure that Lambeth is dead, Breen rushes to town and accuses Pecos of the killing as well as the rustling. When Breen shows up at the Lambeths' ranch with several men from town, however, Lambeth, who was only wounded, exposes Breen's lies and vindicates Pecos. Cornered, Breen escapes but is thrown from his horse and is trampled to death. Thus freed from his past, Pecos happily embraces Terrill, who reveals at last her true feminine form.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 4, 1935
Premiere Information
New York opening: 27 Dec 1934
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel West of the Pecos by Zane Grey (New York, 1937).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 8m
Film Length
7 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Although a print of this film was not viewed, credits were obtained from a cutting continuity contained in copyright records. RKO borrowed Martha Sleeper from M-G-M for this production. In an August 1934 Film Daily news item, John Ford was announced as a probable director for the picture. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Pat West, Louis Mason and Oscar Apfel to the cast, while Motion Picture Herald's "The Cutting Room" adds Adrian Morris and Charles Stevens. Their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. In 1945, Edward Killy directed Robert Mitchum and Barbara Hale in an RKO remake of Zane Grey's novel.