Wyatt, Wayne and the West
As a child John Wyatt (John Wayne) was travelling with his brother Jim (Frank McGlynn Jr.) and their folks by wagon train when it is attacked by Ballard (Jack Curtis) and his outlaws. Whilst John survived his parents were murdered and Jim was taken by the outlaws. Many years later in a post-Civil War American, John assembles a posse called "The Singing Riders" who set about cleaning up California of the gangs of outlaws hoping one day to come across the gang responsible for the murder of his folks.
Screenwriter Robert Emmett Tansey is probably a name you won't be familiar with but he was responsible for a whole host of westerns from the 30s and 40s. I have watched a few of those westerns which "Westward Ho" is one of with its story of a cowboy leading a group of vigilantes in a crusade against outlaws in the hope of coming across those who killed his folks. But of course this has the extra element when it comes to John's brother who was taken by outlaws as a young, impressionable kid and whilst I won't tell you what happens you may be able to guess. The thing is for me I have watched at least another 2 of these old westerns which feature exactly the same set up of a brother kidnapped by outlaws and I wouldn't be surprised if they were based off of the same Emmett Tansey script as this one.
But of course Emmett Tansey isn't what will attract audiences to watch "Westward Ho" now but the fact it is a John Wayne western made relatively early on in his career before he became a huge star. And it is a youthful performance from Wayne but also an extremely typical one of the period with him doing handsome and heroic along with some scenes of him looking wistfully of in to the distance. In truth you are likely to remember "Westward Ho" because the posse of vigilantes happen to be singing cowboys, not unusual for the era this western was made but not something you saw in every John Wayne western as is a scene of him supposedly serenading a girl and looking embarrassed doing it.
What this all boils down to is that if you are a fan of these old westerns you might watch "Westward Ho" and get a sense that you have watched it before due to the familiarity of the storyline as well as the performances of all those involved including John Wayne. But even so it is a solid example of these old westerns which has stood up reasonably well compared to others of the era.