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John Wayne and his horses in the 1930s
in westerns at Warners, Lone Star/Monogram and Republic

Over the years, I've gotten quite a few e-mails asking about the horses ridden by John Wayne in his 1930s westerns (prior to him becoming a member of Republic's Three Mesquiteers). During Summer, 2011, I re-looked at (most) all of these early Wayne westerns. And for each film, I jotted notes and did screen captures of Wayne and his trusty steed. Below are the results of this mind numbing experience.



Wayne at Warners
6 films / 6 with white horse named "Duke"


Above - crop/blowup of "Duke, the Miracle Horse" from a lobby card from Wayne's first western for Warners, RIDE HIM, COWBOY (Warners, 1932).

The primary reason for this horse was because Warners used stock footage from their earlier Ken Maynard silent First National westerns. And Wayne's horse had to closely match the footage of Maynard's Tarzan.



Above is a screen capture of Wayne's horse in THE BIG STAMPEDE (Warners, 1932). Notice the AH brand which I originally thought might be for trainer and stable owner Ace Hudkins. Below is a blowup of that brand which appears to be a combination of the letters A and H.

Horse expert Pat Mefferd is doing some detective work on the brand and we'll update if additional info is available.


Film TitleHorse/color/comments.
RIDE HIM, COWBOY (Warners, 1932)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
Can clearly see the AH brand in many scenes.
THE BIG STAMPEDE (Warners, 1932)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
Can clearly see the AH brand (see screen capture above).
HAUNTED GOLD (Warners, 1932)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
THE TELEGRAPH TRAIL (Warners, 1933)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
SOMEWHERE IN SONORA (Warners, 1933)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
THE MAN FROM MONTEREY (Warners, 1933)White horse, billed in the opening titles and credits as "Duke".
Can spot what appears to be the AH brand.




Wayne's Lone Star/Monogram and early Republics
24 films / with a mix of white and brown horses


(From Old Corral image collection)

In this re-release lobby card from THE LUCKY TEXAN (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933), Wayne gives assistance to George Hayes in his days before becoming 'Windy' in the Hopalong Cassidy films and 'Gabby' at Republic.


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - the title lobby card for SAGEBRUSH TRAIL (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933).


Film TitleHorse/color/comments.
RIDERS OF DESTINY (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933)Rides Jack Perrin's white horse "Starlight".
SAGEBRUSH TRAIL (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933)Brown horse with small white splotch on forehead.
THE LUCKY TEXAN (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933)White horse.
WEST OF THE DIVIDE (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)Rides Jack Perrin's white horse "Starlight".
BLUE STEEL (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)White horse.
THE MAN FROM UTAH (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)Wayne rides 3 horses. At the beginning, he is on a white horse. Then he rides two brown horses, one with long face blaze that widens at the nostrils, and one with a medium sized white blotch on the forehead.
RANDY RIDES ALONE (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)White horse.
THE STAR PACKER (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)White horse.
THE TRAIL BEYOND (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)The film begins with Wayne on a brown horse with long, thin face blaze that widens to a diamond pattern between and above the eyes. Later, when he and Noah Beery Jr. are escaping the law, Wayne is on a brown horse with a long, wide face blaze.
THE LAWLESS FRONTIER (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)Appears to use 2 horses. There's a brown horse with long, thin face blaze that widens to a large splotch above the eyes and it also appears to have a white sock on the rear left leg. By the "watering hole", he has a brown hoss with a long, thin face blaze that widens to a diamond pattern between and above the eyes.
'NEATH ARIZONA SKIES (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934)Wayne rides 3 brown horses. His primary mount has a long, wide face blaze. There's a brown with a small white splotch on the forehead (which Shirley Jean Rickert rides), and another brown with no face markings.
TEXAS TERROR (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935)Brown horse with medium sized, diamond shaped, white blotch on forehead.
RAINBOW VALLEY (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935)Brown horse with medium sized white blotch on forehead.
THE DESERT TRAIL (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935)Brown horse with small white mark on forehead above the eyes (mark is very difficult to see).
THE DAWN RIDER (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935)Brown horse with small white spot on forehead.
PARADISE CANYON (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935)Brown horse with small white spot on forehead.
WESTWARD HO (Republic, 1935)White horse.
THE NEW FRONTIER (Republic, 1935)White horse.
THE LAWLESS RANGE (Republic, 1935)White horse.
THE OREGON TRAIL (Republic, 1936)Film not available; is among the lost/missing westerns.
Lobby cards from that film show Wayne on a white horse.
THE LAWLESS NINETIES (Republic, 1936)White horse.
KING OF THE PECOS (Republic, 1936)White horse.
THE LONELY TRAIL (Republic, 1936)White horse.
WINDS OF THE WASTELAND (Republic, 1936)White horse.

Above is a screen capture of Wayne as "Singing Sandy" in RIDERS OF DESTINY (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933) and he's riding Jack Perrin's Starlight. He also rode Starlight in WEST OF THE DIVIDE (Lone Star/Monogram, 1934).



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card from THE LUCKY TEXAN (Lone Star/Monogram, 1933).




(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is Wayne in a crop from a lobby card from THE DESERT TRAIL (Lone Star/Monogram, 1935). Note the small (and faint) white mark on the horse's forehead.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, Sheila Manners (in this film, billed as Sheila Bromley) with a young John Wayne in a tender scene from WESTWARD HO (Republic, 1935), his first film under the Republic Pictures logo.


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - the title lobby card from THE NEW FRONTIER (Republic, 1935).




A bit of a mystery ...


(Courtesy of Minard Coons)



Above - a publicity still of Wayne atop the horse that I call the "white horse with a mottled face and many names". And a crop/blowup of that horse's face. This was definitely not Duke, the horse he rode in his six Warners westerns. And I've yet to find him riding this particular white horse in his Lone Star/Monogram series as well as his first batch of oaters for Republic Pictures. Methinks Wayne was at a stable for publicity stills and he just happened to climb aboard this particular horse for a photo.

This "white horse with a mottled face and many names" was ridden by many heroes and there's a section on Trusty Steeds about this hoss. Example - below is Tim McCoy during his early 1930s series at Columbia Pictures. Note that the same saddle is used in both the Wayne and McCoy stills.




(Courtesy of Ed Phillips)


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