West of the Divide (1934) starring John Wayne, Virginia Brown Faire, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Lloyd Whitlock, Yakima Canutt directed by Robert N. Bradbury Movie Review

West of the Divide (1934)   2/52/52/52/52/5

John Wayne in West of the Divide (1934)

Wayne Heads West

Ted Hayden (John Wayne - The Lucky Texan) is on the search for his brother as he is his only loving relative but knows that he was taken by the outlaws who killed his Pa. When Ted comes across a dying man who has a letter of hire from gang leader Gentry (Lloyd Whitlock) he decides to pretend to be the man in order to get in with the bad guys and find his brother. It also leads him to Fay Winters (Virginia Brown Faire) who Gentry has eyes for almost as much as he has eyes for the Winters' ranch which he means to own one way or another.

"West of the Divide" is not a bad little western, in fact it is highly typical of those early westerns which John Wayne made for Lone Star Productions. In fact "West of the Divide" is so typical, with the same cast, look and action that there is nothing which makes it stand out from the crowd. As such we watch as John Wayne as Ted Hayden basically tricks his way in to the Gentry gang, saves the brother and gets the girl.

But in a way it is what is missing from "West of the Divide" which lets it down because it has zero atmosphere. Moments of action such as a chase scene and shoots out feel life less because there is nothing to them which raises the pace. Also what is missing is Gabby Hayes' whiskers, Hayes plays Wayne's side kick Dusty, a part he frequently played in these early westerns, but without his usual beard you almost don't recognize him. Other than that the only other thing worth commenting about is that "West of the Divide" has survived remarkably well and has a sharper look about it compared to other westerns from this time.

What this all boils down to is that "West of the Divide" is a bit of old cinema which really has two appeals; for fans of John Wayne and for western fanatics who like discovering old westerns.