Two-Fisted Law (1932)

Tim McCoy in Two-Fisted Law (1932)

Waynes a Bit McCoy

"Two-Fisted Law" is billed as a John Wayne movie and to be honest I can understand why as whilst Wayne only has a supporting role it is his name which will attract people to watch far more than its star Tim McCoy. But this is one of those westerns which came relatively early on in John Wayne's career, I say relatively because whilst he had only been in the movies for 6 years he had already notched up more appearances than some actors notch up in an entire career. As such "Two-Fisted Law" is a functional little western which rolls in at around 60 minutes but is not that spectacular.

In the town of Eagle Pass crooked business man Bob Russell (Wheeler Oakman) has been swindling the locals of out of their land and his latest swindle sees him take the Bar-X ranch from Tim Clark who before leaving to go prospecting arranges for his ranch hands Duke (John Wayne - The Shootist) and Artie (Wallace MacDonald) to go and work on the neighbouring Bridle-Bit ranch run by the Owens. Two years later and old man Owen has passed away and Bob Russell has his sights on not only on getting the Bridle-Bit but also on marrying Betty Owen (Alice Day). But much to Bob's surprise Tim returns spoiling his plans but shortly after Tim finds himself being accused of robbing a Wells Fargo office and murdering a clerk with Bob leading the accusations.

John Wayne in Two-Fisted Law (1932)

In many ways "Two-Fisted Law" is typical of these early westerns which trade on what is the familiar storyline of a crooked businessman doing what ever to get what he wants. There isn't much flesh on them bones as the crooked businessman quickly gets Tim's ranch and then sets his sights on the Owen's ranch, accusing Tim of robbery and murder along the way to get him out of the way but it is enough to support 60 minutes of early western action.

What I mean by that is we have plenty of typical moments starting with a romantic sub plot over Betty and Tim. But we also get some horse stunt work as people leap on to horses to make speedy get aways and there is the obligatory gun action thrown in there as well. Basically if you have watched some of John Wayne's or Tim McCoy's other early westerns you will notice that this doesn't differ that greatly serving up those expected elements to satisfy those who love westerns.

As for the performances well John Wayne is in a supporting role and to be honest doesn't have a great deal to do other than be a good guy. As such that does make this a western all about Tim McCoy and it is a solid if forgettable performance from the western star that ends up being over shadowed by one of the largest cowboy hats you will ever see.

What this all boils down to is that "Two-Fisted Law" is just a typical early western which goes through the motions and delivers nothing more than what it is expected. As such the only real interest this movie now has is the fact it is an early John Wayne movie even if he is in a supporting role.