Tim McCoy and John Wayne Double Feature — Two Fisted Law / Texas Cyclone (1932)
Tim McCoy is the featured cowboy in these two programmers that each clock in at one hour . With all due respect to Mr. McCoy it’s his costar that will lead most film buffs to tune in. It’s twenty five year old John Wayne.
In Two Fisted Law, McCoy quietly gives up his ranch to Wheeler Oakman who is foreclosing on many of the farms in his debt. This includes McCoy’s Bar X Ranch. Duke is his lead hand who watches McCoy ride off on his horse Pal for what amounts to two years.
Like any one hour B movie, McCoy reappears just in time to prevent our villain from foreclosing on lovely Alice Day’s Bridle Bit Ranch. Would you believe she’s been waiting patiently for McCoy’s return? McCoy is quickly set up by Oakman to appear as if he pulled a robbery. Our low key hero now must flee the sheriff while at the same time prove his innocence, take down the bad guy, save Brady’s ranch and hopefully set the stage for romance at the fadeout.
Long time John Wayne costar Walter Brennan appears here as one of the baddies who figures prominently in the final showdown. Wayne himself has a fine name for his character this time out. Unbelievable as it may seem it’s Duke!
In the second feature we have McCoy, Wayne and Walter Brennan once again appearing in front of the same director, D. Ross Lederman.
This one is slightly better than the first and allows Duke a line that one could say sums up many of his roles or perhaps even his career. “There ain’t nobody got me buffaloed.”
McCoy opens the film riding into a new town on his white horse Pal. Problem is everyone seems to know him under a different name. Bartender Vernon Dent explains to him just who everyone suspects he actually is. It doesn’t take McCoy long to to meet his supposed wife Shirley Grey and decide she needs his help to combat the rustlers that have been steadily reducing her herd. Handsome John Wayne is there to back him up, gun in hand.
McCoy very quickly points a finger at the head rustler and enlists Walter Brennan’s sheriff to help weed out the undesirables and run them out of town. Baddie Wheeler MacDonald quickly challenges McCoy to a shootout because the towns not big enough for the both of them.
This leads to what is actually a solid overhead camera angle of the shootout. Easily the most impressive shot from either of these two westerns. As the film comes to the fadeout don’t be surprised if the plot takes a twist to allow supposed wife Grey and lookalike McCoy to possibly see a future together.
Duke was in the years where he had to take a step backwards after The Big Trail and as we all know would stay in the B’s till Pappy Ford put him in Stagecoach turning him into a star player till the day he died.
These are the first Tim McCoy featured westerns I have seen and it’s hard to be critical of him because these are the days when the western wasn’t really looked upon with too much respect in the industry. They were B film programmers made on a low budget. I find McCoy stiff and uninteresting from my 2014 point of view.
It’s Walter Brennan that offers us an interesting parallel in these westerns. In the first he’s a snake who is probably playing his age which was 38 at the time. In the second feature, he is in full character mode playing a creaky sheriff who looks well past 65. It’s easy to see that Walter’s a pro with scene stealer tattooed on his forehead. Put a little weight on him and there is no doubt he’ll someday play a deputy named Stumpy.
I found both of these two titles rummaging through a box of VHS tapes and quickly added them to my John Wayne collection.