Best Western Movies of 1940
The Grapes of Wrath
Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to foreclosure. He catches up with them on his Uncle’s farm, and joins them the next day as they head for California and a new life... Hopefully.
The Mark of Zorro
Around 1820 the son of a California nobleman comes home from Spain to find his native land under a villainous dictatorship. On the one hand he plays the useless fop, while on the other he is the masked avenger Zorro.
Drifter Cole Harden is accused of stealing a horse and faces hanging by self-appointed Judge Roy Bean, but Harden manages to talk his way out of it by claiming to be a friend of stage star Lillie Langtry, with whom the judge is obsessed, even though he has never met her. Tensions rise when Harden comes to the defense of a group of struggling homesteaders who Judge Bean is trying to drive away.
Embezzler, shill, all around confidence man S. Quentin Quale is heading west to find his fortune; he meets the crafty but simple brothers Joseph and Rusty Panello in a train station, where they steal all his money. They're heading west, too, because they've heard you can just pick the gold off the ground. Once there, they befriend an old miner named Dan Wilson whose property, Dead Man's Gulch, has no gold. They loan him their last ten dollars so he can go start life anew, and for collateral, he gives them the deed to the Gulch. Unbeknownst to Wilson, the son of his longtime rival, Terry Turner (who's also in love with his daughter, Eva), has contacted the railroad to arrange for them to build through the land, making the old man rich and hopefully resolving the feud. But the evil Red Baxter, owner of a saloon, tricks the boys out of the deed, and it's up to them - as well as Quale, who naturally finds his way out west anyway - to save the day.
Based on the Kenneth Roberts novel of the same name, this film tells the story of two friends who join Rogers' Rangers, as the legendary elite force engages the enemy during the French and Indian War. The film focuses on their famous raid at Fort St. Francis and their marches before and after the battle.
When transplanted Texan Bob Seton arrives in Lawrence, Kansas he finds much to like about the place, especially Mary McCloud, daughter of the local banker. Politics is in the air however. It's just prior to the civil war and there is already a sharp division in the Territory as to whether it will remain slave-free. When he gets the opportunity to run for marshal, Seton finds himself running against the respected local schoolteacher, William Cantrell. Not is what it seems however. While acting as the upstanding citizen in public, Cantrell is dangerously ambitious and is prepared to do anything to make his mark, and his fortune, on the Territory. When he loses the race for marshal, he forms a group of raiders who run guns into the territory and rob and terrorize settlers throughout the territory. Eventually donning Confederate uniforms, it is left to Seton and the good citizens of Lawrence to face Cantrell and his raiders in one final clash.
The Return of Frank James
Farmer Frank and his ward hunt brother Jesse's killers, the back-shooting Fords.
North West Mounted Police
Texas Ranger Dusty Rivers ("Isn't that a contradiction in terms?", another character asks him) travels to Canada in the 1880s in search of Jacques Corbeau, who is wanted for murder. He wanders into the midst of the Riel Rebellion, in which Métis (people of French and Native heritage) and Natives want a separate nation. Dusty falls for nurse April Logan, who is also loved by Mountie Jim Brett. April's brother is involved with Courbeau's daughter Louvette, which leads to trouble during the battles between the rebels and the Mounties. Through it all Dusty is determined to bring Corbeau back to Texas (and April, too, if he can manage it.)
Union officer Kerry Bradford escapes from a Confederate prison and races to intercept $5 million in gold destined for Confederate coffers. A Confederate sympathizer and a Mexican bandit, each with their own stake in the loot, stand in his way.
Phoebe Titus is a tough, swaggering pioneer woman, but her ways become decidedly more feminine when she falls for California bound Peter Muncie. But Peter won't be distracted from his journey and Phoebe is left alone and plenty busy with villains Jefferson Carteret and Lazarus Ward plotting at every turn to destroy her freighting company. She has not seen the last of Peter, however.