Wayne & Hayes Share a Lucky Strike
You would think that a movie which lasts just 53 minutes would fill it's time with one story, well you may think so but John Wayne's "The Lucky Texan" or "Gold Strike River" as it is also known has two. And as you would imagine fitting two storylines into 53 minutes means that neither of them are that solid, almost skeleton like when it comes to detail and depth. What this basically means is that "The Lucky Texan" is a slim jim of a western with basically 2 small dramas, a small amount of action and a touch of comedy as well as the youthful presence of John Wayne. And out of those things it is the moment of comedy involving George 'Gabby' Hayes which makes it worth watching.
Having returned from college Jerry Mason (John Wayne - Sagebrush Trail) hooks up with his dearly departed father's old friend Jake 'Grandy' Benson (George 'Gabby' Hayes) to go into business and whilst the ranch is no longer operational they set up as black smiths. They also get lucky when they try their hand at gold prospecting hitting it big which inevitably brings them much attention from the town's folk. It also brings them trouble when Harris (Lloyd Whitlock) who runs the Assay office shoots Jake leaving him for dead and putting the blame on Jerry, except that Jake isn't dead and plans on delivering a surprise at Jerry's trial.
Whilst "The Lucky Texan" has two storylines with one following the other they are linked by the fact that one happens to Jake Benson and the other to his younger friend Jerry Mason. And so when "The Lucky Texan" starts we get introduced to Jerry and Jake, old friends who first set up in business together and then strike it rich when they go gold prospecting. We also discover the Jake's granddaughter Betty is coming to live with them when she finishes college which with this being an old western the youthful Jerry will end up with the girl by the time the movie fades out.
Anyway so these two stories, well the first one sees Jake being arrested when there is trouble at the bank and he is found standing over the body of the banker and so Jerry gets him released by discovering who was really at fault over the shot banker and the stolen money. The second sees Jerry being arrested for the presumed murder of Jake which was really down to the greedy Harris who runs the assay office and as know one knows that Jake isn't dead other than Jerry he repays the favour by getting Jerry released. Both storylines are slim, obvious and riddled with far more holes than actual shots fired in both of these stories and as such you really need to watch "The Lucky Texan" knowing that there is absolutely no depth to either of the stories.
And to be honest the acting leaves a lot to be desired with both George 'Gabby' Hayes and John Wayne hamming it up but not as much as Lloyd Whitlock who plays bad guy Harris. In a way it is disappointing because Hayes and Wayne starred together in a few of these quick westerns and sometimes they were the highlight of the movie but this time there is no spark from either of them. Although you have to smile at the various ways that John Wayne mounts a horse and the rather strange scene where he slides down a water chute straddling a spade.
What this all boils down to is that even for its age "The Lucky Texan" is a disappointing western which has little going for it. Both the storylines are weak and the acting is hammy but then the last 10 minutes are worth the wait and provide the comedy which makes getting through so much dullness worth the effort.