The Lawless Nineties

The Lawless Nineties is a 1936 American Western film directed by Joseph Kane and starring John Wayne and Lane Chandler as federal agents in Wyoming. The film also stars a 19-year-old Ann Rutherford as well as George Hayes.

The Lawless Nineties
Film poster
Directed byJoseph Kane
Produced byTrem Carr
Written by
StarringJohn Wayne
George Hayes
Music byArthur Kay
CinematographyWilliam Nobles
Edited byJoseph Kane
Distributed byRepublic Pictures
Release date
  • February 15, 1936 (1936-02-15)
Running time
55 minutes
CountryUnited States


In the 1890s, undercover federal agents John Tipton (Wayne) and Bridger (Chandler) head for Crocket City, Wyoming to supervise the vote on whether to join the Union. One group of local outlaws organized by Charles Plummer (Harry Woods) is using dynamite to terrorize the populace and ensure that the vote fails. In the chaos, Tipton and Bridger are separated and Tipton befriends a trio of settlers harassed by outlaws. They are Major Carter (Hayes), his daughter Janet (Rutherford) and their servant Moses (Fred Toones).

Carter has recently become the new editor and publisher of the local newspaper, the Crocket City Blade, and when he announces plans to use the power of the press to fight lawlessness and aid the statehood cause, he is threatened by Plummer and subsequently shot and murdered by one of his men in a staged fight.

When Plummer's henchmen eventually kill Bridger, after learning of his status as a government agent, Tipton fights on. He sends fake telegrams that trap some of Plummer's men. Then he organizes the ranchers and on election day they descend on the town barricaded by Plummer's gang and defeated the gang leader and his henchmen.

On the day of the election, the villains actually initially stop the homesteaders from voting but Tipton leads in a bunch of agents and ranchers to crush the outlaws. It results in all the baddies brought to justice, Wyoming becoming a state and Tipton getting the pretty girl, Janet.


Production notes

  • The working title of this film was G-Men of the Nineties. According to Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. "laid claim to the word G-man" (which was the title of a 1935 Warner film starring James Cagney) and threatened to sue any company which used it, causing Republic to change this film's name to avoid litigation.
  • Etta McDaniel was the sister of Hattie McDaniel.
  • The film premiered on February 15, 1936.
  • The film, although based in Wyoming, was filmed at the Trem Carr Ranch in Newhall, California.

See also

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