John Dawson (John Wayne) like his father Milt (Sam Flint) has made a living for himself as a wagon master, helping the pioneers to make it to their destinations through the unforgiving wilderness of the west. And like his father, John is not ready to give up the adventure of the wagon trail and carries on helping pioneers head west. But it seems things are not rosy back in the newly formed towns especially the one where Milt has arrived to meet John in as it is under the rule of gambler Ace (Warner Richmond) who will gun down anyone he likes. When a friend of Milt's is killed he decides to confront Ace only to end up killed as well. When John arrives in town to see his dad and his girl Hanna (Muriel Evans) he learns what Ace did and agrees to become the town's sheriff. Whilst John is outnumbered he has made some friends on his travels including a bunch of outlaws lead by Kit (Al Bridge) who agree to be his deputies in the fight against Ace and his men.
Stripped down to its basics and "The New Frontier" is nothing more than another quickly made 1930s western which sees John Wayne playing the hero who gets the girl by the time the credits roll. From the gambler who runs the town to John ending up out numbered when he becomes sheriff these are all cliches which when you have watched a few westerns will start to spot quite frequently. But it is not only familiarity in the story but being one of these quickly produced westerns from the 1930s it doesn't take any time to dig beneath the surface of anything or take the time to show such things as the races by the pioneers to grab their slot of land.
But beside the basics "The New Frontier" has some simple but nice touches such as a gunfight scene in the saloon where the lights are shot out first so that no one can identify the killer when he shoots Milt in his back. There is also the respect between John and outlaw Kit with a nice scene which establishes the character of John as being law abiding but someone who will help a bad guy if the help they need is not law breaking.
What this all boils down to is that "The New Frontier" ends up just a regular 1930s western and one which will mainly appeal to John Wayne fans. But it has some entertaining touches which grab your attention when the familiarity of the storyline struggles.