"Texas Cyclone" is a Tim McCoy western about mistaken identity. John Wayne co-starred in two McCoy's oaters as a second-string cowboy. For the record, this was Wayne's first film with McCoy. Later, he appeared in "Two-Fisted Law" with McCoy. Altogether, Wayne worked with director D. Ross Lederman on three horse operas. Before his two co-starring turns with McCoy, Wayne co-starred with Buck Jones in "The Range Feud" for Columbia. Wayne's two McCoy sagebrushers were Columbia releases, too. "Texas Cyclone" emerges as a 1932 version of "The Bourne Identity." Our hero calls himself Texas Grant, but everybody else hails him as Jim Rawlins. Predictably, as it turns out, Tex Grant has suffered such trauma that he doesn't know he isn't Jim Rawlins. D. Ross Lederman stages an interesting saloon shoot-out between our hero and the dastardly villain with his camera set high in the rafters above the two shooters. This is distinctive because everything else is filmed at eye-level.
Texas Grant (Tim McCoy) rides into the frontier town of Stampede and some gunmen are prepared to shoot it out with him. An obese bartender named Hefty tells Texas to masquerade as Rawlings. Hefty tells Texas how to get to the Diamond R Ranch where Rawlins lived. Texas has to beat some sense into one of his assailants before the hombre capitulates. Sheriff Lew Collins (Walter Brennan of "Red River") makes the same mistake that many other townspeople made. He believes that Tex is Jim Rawlins. When Rawlins's wife Helen (Shirley Guy) lays her eyes on Texas, she believes that she is seeing her long, lost husband Jim. It seems that Jim disappeared five years ago, and Hefty believes he was shot and killed. Texas takes Rawlins's wife inside and meets Katie (Mary Gordon) the housekeeper who makes the same mistake everybody else has made about Texas. She tells Tex in so many words that Helen is running the Diamond R, but Utah Becker (Wheeler Oakman) is rustling her cattle. Furthermore, Katie condemns the lazy, good-for-nothing ranch hands for their lackluster duty. Tex goes to the bunkhouse and fires ranch foreman Jim Lawler (Wallace MacDonald). He meets a cowpoke who doesn't string along with Lawler. This man is Steve Picket (John Wayne) and Tex takes a liking to Steve. Lawler and Tex have a knockdown drag-out fistfight, and Tex licks him. Helen decides go along with the ruse that Tex is Jim, and they fix him up a room in the house to avert suspicion. Later, Becker's men are rustling cattle when Steve spots them, and a shoot-out ensues. The two rustlers exchange gunshots with Steve, and they cease him in the shoulder and knock him off his horse. As the rustlers are hightailing it, Steve kills Web Oliver, while Steve's horse gallops back to the ranch. Tex and Helen find him and Tex leaves Steve in Helen's care. Meanwhile, Tex catches up with Farwell and takes him to Sheriff Collins. Tex and Sheriff Collins concoct a scheme to draw all the inhospitable types with no apparent job but money in their wallets to a lecture by Collins. Meantime, Tex has summoned ten Texas gunslingers to join him. Tex and his friends surprise the undesirables at Sheriff Collins' lecture and Collins compels them to disarm themselves. He orders them to leave Stampede and make a 20 mile hike to the nearest town on foot. Becker swears up and down that Tex isn't Jim, just as Tex has believed all along. Nevertheless, after a brief gunfight in Becker's saloon, a wounded Tex collapses. The next time that we see Tex, he is in bed with Helen tending him. As it turns out, Tex really is Jim and the mystery is resolved to everyone's satisfaction.
"Texas Cyclone" is a rougher than usual B-movie western with comic relief. Quite possibly, this may have been the first time that John Wayne and Walter Brennan co-starred in a western.