The Miracle Rider

The Miracle Rider is a 1935 Mascot movie serial directed by B. Reeves Eason and Armand Schaefer. The serial stars silent movie cowboy star Tom Mix in his last major film role.[1]

The Miracle Rider
Directed byB. Reeves Eason
Armand Schaefer
Produced byNat Levine
Barney A. Sarecky
Written byBarney A. Sarecky
Wellyn Totman
StarringTom Mix
Joan Gale
Charles Middleton
Music byNem Herkan
CinematographyErnest Miller
William Nobles
Edited byRichard Fantl
Mascot Pictures
Distributed byMascot Pictures
Release date
  • April 12, 1935 (1935-04-12)
Running time
15 chapters (306 minutes)
CountryUnited States

Plot summary

Zaroff (Charles Middleton), a rancher and oil company owner, wants to drive the Ravenhead Indians off their reservation so that he can mine the rare element X-94, a super explosive, found there and sell it to the highest bidder. Texas Ranger Tom Morgan tries to stop him and save the tribe.



This was Tom Mix's last film and his only sound serial.[2] Tom Mix was still an A-list star in 1935, alongside Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. and Mary Pickford.[2] He was paid $40,000 for four weeks work on The Miracle Rider, which he used as urgent funding to support his circus.[2]

The serial combined the large cast and interlocking plots of a silent serial with the science fiction and cliffhangers of the sound era.[2] Filming of the outdoor action sequences took place primarily at the Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Calif., on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The movie ranch, which had been in use as a filming location since the early silent movie era, was known for its rugged landscape and giant sandstone boulders. One of those boulders became known as Tom Mix Rock in later years, after it was discovered that bootholes had been carved in the rock to help the actor shoot a scene atop the rock for The Miracle Rider.


Tom Mix, whose voice was strained and nasal due to a repeatedly broken nose and a bullet through his throat, did a lot of his own stunts, although some were doubled by Cliff Lyons.[2]

Chapter titles

  1. The Vanishing Indian
  2. The Firebird Strikes
  3. The Flying Knife
  4. A Race with Death
  5. Double Barreled Doom
  6. Thundering Hoofs [sic]
  7. The Dragnet
  8. Guerilla Warfare
  9. The Silver Road
  10. Signal Fires
  11. A Traitor Dies
  12. Danger Rides with Death
  13. The Secret of X-94
  14. Between Two Fires
  15. Justice Rides the Plains


This was Mascot's only 15-chapter serial.

"Zaroff" is obviously inspired by Basil Zaharoff, a notorious early twentieth-century arms merchant, often cited as one of the so-called "merchants of death", who supposedly helped bring on World War I.

See also


  1. Mayer, Geoff (2017-02-07). Encyclopedia of American Film Serials. ISBN 9781476627199.
  2. Harmon, Jim; Donald F. Glut (1973). "3. Science Fiction/Westerns "Drop That Zap Gun, Hombre"". The Great Movie Serials: Their Sound and Fury. Routledge. pp. 67–70. ISBN 978-0-7130-0097-9.
  3. Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 212–213. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded by
The Phantom Empire (1935)
Mascot Serial
The Miracle Rider (1935)
Succeeded by
The Adventures of Rex and Rinty (1935)
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