(5 out of 5 stars)
"I used to watch these old John Wayne movies (1930s) on Saturday mornings on tv when I was a kid. I picked up 7 of them on VHS when I saw them in the store. If you're a fan of these early westerns then "The Dawn Rider" will definitely satisfy you. It's great to watch an early John Wayne beginning to define himself as the king of the westerns. Some pretty good stunts too. Enjoy!!"
An early John Wayne B Western without a happy ending
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Dawn Rider" is the penultimate B Western in the series of sixteen that a young John Wayne starred in for Lone Star/Monogram studio between 1933 and 1935. Wayne plays John Mason who comes home in time to see his father (Joe DeGrasse) gunned down by bad guys. Mason gives chase and manages to gun down three of them before being wounded himself. Mason ends up being cared for by Alice Gordon (Marion Burns), who, in the small world that these B Westerns represents, turns out to be the the girl friend of the local bad guy, Ben (Reed Howes), but also the sister of the man who shot Mason's father, Rudd Gordon (Dennis Moore, aka Denny Meadows). This is going to make a happy ending difficult and director Robert N. Bradbury does not really try, which is interesting in itself given this series. Legendary stuntman Yakima Canutt is back after an absence of a couple of films, although he does not get too do any thing particularly special this time around in terms of the stunts. Canutt plays the saloon keeper when he is not doubling for Wayne or another actor in the action sequences. George "Gabby" Hayes is still absent and the comic relief comes from Nelson McDowell as Batest the undertaker, who complains the town is too healthy and if something does not happen soon he is going to have to vamoose. Of course Mason and Gordon's gang take care of that. All of these Lone Star Westerns are in poor shape. The sound is always scratchy and the picture blurred at times. But then these oaters were made for $10,000 in five days, so we are talking the production values of a poverty row studio. But for fans of the Duke it is interesting to back and see what he was like when he was learning his craft. Just think of these little movies, all of which run under an hour, as representing John Wayne in grade school, and do not expect the title to have anything to really do with the character or plot."
A cut above most early John Wayne westerns
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 05/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dawn Rider (1935) is one of my favorite early John Wayne westerns. While it does fit the mold of all the Lone Star Productions vehicles featuring The Duke amidst a cast of regulars such as Yakima Canutt, it rises a cut above the rest through its rather involved plot, a less than completely happy ending, and some great scenes such as the final showdown in which The Duke saunters down the street in impressive "this town ain't big enough for the both of us" fashion. Wayne plays John Mason, who arrives home just in time to see his father murdered during a robbery - but not before he gets acquainted with local tough guy Ben (Reed Howes). Both men go at it pretty good only to become best of friends by the time the fight is over. When his dad is killed, Mason goes after the gang of thugs, taking out a few of them but sustaining two gunshot wounds of his own. Ben's sweetie nurses him back to health, but as luck would have it, her own brother is the man Mason is looking for. As if this isn't complicated enough, Ben starts to believe that Mason is after his girl, placing an unsuspecting Mason up to his neck in trouble later on. Most of these early westerns have a happy ending all the way around, but Dawn Rider does not, and this fact really makes this film stand out in my mind. Packed with action, great performances, and some magnificently staged gunfights, Dawn Rider is a movie every fan of old westerns can enjoy - especially if you also happen to be a big John Wayne fan."
Young DUKE in Forgettable Western...
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 09/07/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While The DUKE is as DUKE-ish as ever, unfortunately this film is one of the fogettable westerns he was relegated to making between the 1930 epic "The Big Trail" and the 1939 groundbreaker, "Stagecoach".Predictable and not very unique or stylish, "The Dawn Rider" tells the tale of a young man trying to avenge his father's death. The man responsible is the brother of The DUKE's new best friend's sweetheart, who secretly pines for The DUKE.Naturally, DUKE can't get the girl because his best pal wants her, and he can't take revenge on the bad brother without hurting the girl.The story sounds more interesting that it really is. Nothing in the story is fully or clearly developed, and ham is the order of the day for the supporting players.On the plus side, DUKE regular Yakima Canutt is also on hand,
and the DUKE himself is as rugged, honest, and charming as ever in this 1935 effort. In great (though critically poor) scene, DUKE is and his soon-to-be pal are fighting things out. They throw away their guns to settle things "the old fashioned way." When DUKE knocks down his opponent, the man lands near a discarded gun. He refuses to pick it up, prefering to fight fair instead. The DUKE shows obvious liking for the fair play, and the two become friends. Some great corny western banter preceeds the fight, with DUKE telling the man "Looks like you're the joker in this deck!"While not a memorable western, this DVD shows a young DUKE in action. The disc is inexpensive, so if nothing else, DUKE fans can enjoy 55 minutes of young DUKE for a low price."