Pros: Fast-paced childish fun
Cons: The Duke trolling in material below him
Frontier Horizon (1939)
It might be surprising for some people to hear this, but despite the fact that Stagecoach came out in March of 1939, John Waynes next four movies were a series of Three Mesquiteers vehicles for Republic Pictures. So, despite starring in a big-budget epic directed by John Ford, and released by United Artists. The Duke still found himself back in front of George Shermans camera playing Stony Brooke again. The Three Mesquiteers movies were big money makers for Republic, but b-westerns being the exploitive medium that they are, Republic certainly werent going to let a star like Wayne get away from them anytime soon, at least not as long as they could keep him under contract. All of that said; this movie did officially mark the Dukes farewell to the Three Mesquiteers series.
In this particular movie, the Mesquiteer trio is portrayed by John Wayne as the aforementioned Stony Brooke, Ray Corrigan as Tucson Smith, and Raymond Hatton as Rusty Joslin. The ever welcomed presence of Eddy Waller is also on hand as the patriarch of the town where all the action is about to go down in.
Originally released under the title of New Frontier, this movie deals with the effects of eminent domain laws on the average man, and it runs dangerously close to being anti-authoritarian (at least as dangerously close as a late 1930s b-western intended for children possibly can). The town of New Hope Valley is facing destruction when the land is condemned so that a new dam and reservoir can be installed. The townspeople choose to fight back, but the Mesquiteers face an awkward dilemma, theyve always stood on the side of law and order, but this time they really agree with the their fellow townsfolk.
Not the greatest movie in the series and not a particularly memorable film in John Waynes body of work, but this is still a very fun, fast-paced, and an ultimately enjoyable b-western. Certainly nothing to write home about, but a truly fun time killer, and a movie that is rather notable for its historic value.
-William J. White