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Undisputed King of the Hollywood Cowboys, John Wayne's formative acting years saw him playing in B-grade Westerns for studios like Lone Star Pictures. Cast by old friend John Ford, his role as The Ringo Kid in 1939's Stagecoach brought stardom, and he would continue to be an iconic figure on screen until his death in 1979. This triple feature looks back at those early years, where The Duke's gritty persona and trademark halting drawl are present but not as pronounced as they would eventually become. All three films are full of fast-paced action and daredevil feats, thanks in no small part to the presence of Yakima Canutt, one of Hollywood's top stuntman at the time. Star Packer (1934): An outlaw gang, led by a mysterious criminal known only as The Shadow, terrorizes the town of Coyote Canyon, robbing, rustling, and leaving three sheriffs riddled with bullets. John Travers, an undercover US Marshal, rides into town and offers to take on the recently vacated post of local lawman. With sidekick Yak, Travers must find out who The Shadow is, and catch him in the act. With George Hayes, Yakima Canutt, Verna Hillie. Directed by R.N. Bradbury. Sagebrush Trail (1933): Wrongly accused of murder in Maryland, John Brant heads out west, hoping to find the one man who can clear his name. With the law hot on his trail, Brant befriends a local outlaw and is invited to work for his gang as a cook. John's new pal turns out to be the very witness he's been looking for. More than that, he's the man who actually committed the crime. With Lane Chandler, Yakima Canutt, Nancy Shubert. Directed by Armand Schaefer. Rainbow Valley (1934): Residents from the storm-ravaged mining town of Rainbow Valley are desperate to rebuild the roads that connect them to the outside world, but a band of gunmen are doing their best to sabotage the work. Into this melee rides John Martin, a stranger who seems capable of handling the outlaws; the very sort of person the townspeople have prayed for. Impressed with his tough-as-nails demeanor, they ask Martin to head up the highway construction and hold the saboteurs at bay. With George Hayes, Buffalo Bill, Jr., Lucille Browne. Directed by R.N. Bradbury.

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ALP5057 Star Packer / Sage Brush Trail / Rainbow Valley DVD (1934/John Wayne) $5.99