The Star Packer (1934, directed by Robert N. Bradbury)

A mysterious outlaw known as the Shadow is terrorizing turn-of-the-century Arkansas.  He and his gang have killed the last few sheriffs of Little Rock.  No one is sure who the Shadow is or how he communicates with his gang but somehow, he is always one step ahead of the law.  However, the Shadow didn’t count on federal agent John Travers (John Wayne) riding into town and declaring himself to be the new sheriff.  Working with his Native sidekick, Yak (Yakima Canutt), Travers sets out to expose the Shadow and take him down.  Along the way, he falls for Anita (Verna Hillie), the niece of rancher Matt Matlock (Gabby Hayes).  Luckily, Anita knows her way around a gun too.

This is one of the 50 B-westerns that John Wayne made before Stagecoach made him a star.  The Star Packer is more interesting than some of Wayne’s other poverty row productions because The Shadow is a more interesting and much more clever villain than the usual greedy but dumb outlaws that Wayne went up against in these movies.  The Shadow actually has a clearly thought-out plan and, for once, Wayne can’t defeat the bad guys on his own.  In The Star Packer, it takes a community to stand up to evil.  As always with Robert Bradbury’s westerns, the fights and the stunts are impressive.  Fans of Wayne’s B-period will probably especially be interested to see the legendary stuntman, Yakima Canutt, play a good guy for once.  He and Wayne both do a good job in this 52 minute programmer.

One response to “The Star Packer (1934, directed by Robert N. Bradbury)

  1. Pingback: Lisa Marie’s Week In Review: 3/20/23 — 3/26/23 | Through the Shattered Lens

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