User Reviews (7)

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  • alan-pratt21 July 2009
    Hoppy, Windy and Johnny get the herd through to the starving townsfolk despite the best efforts of the bad guys to thwart them! Based on a Mulford novel, this one has a more interesting and solid plot than most series entries. The photography is awesome and the trail drive convincing.

    Gabby (Windy) gets a chunkier role than usual - he even gets shot - James Ellison displays the requisite amount of charm as he woos Gwynne Shipman and Hoppy was never more authoritative. The sinister Morris Ankrum is just one of a formidable array of baddies - how could he be anything else? - and there are a couple of good songs, apparently sung by Ellison although I stand to be corrected.

    This is high quality entertainment, possibly the best of the 66.
  • lordjim139 December 2002
    This is the one Hopalong Cassidy adventure that really stands out in my mind as being the best. It's a little more gritty than some of the later ones, and more like a real western than an episode of a tv show. Later on Hoppy would get a bit more corny and more like a wandering doo-gooder, but here he's just an ordinary cattle-man, trying to get his herd on down the trail. Gabby Hayes is, as usual, excellent as Windy, while the rest of the cast make great cowboys. My dad taped a whole bunch of these off PBS for us, and this is what I watched growing up, instead of cartoons or other things, and I think I'll always love these classic adventures. This is definitely the best of them all.
  • "Trail Dust" is a pleasing example of how a simple "formula" western can, with a bit of imagination and a good cast, can be turned into a first-rate adventure. Hopalong Cassidy, together with his usual sidekicks Windy and Johnny Nelson, volunteer to sell their herd at a reasonable price during a food shortage. This does not set well with some greedy cattlemen (led by Morris Ankrum, who was to become a familiar staple in later Hopalong adventures, usually as an unctuous villain). The bad guys set out to sabotage the cattle drive at every turn, and the action scenes are vintage Hopalong Cassidy. There are some pleasant diversions along the way - including an understated Beth Clark - and the climatic denouement seems a natural to the scenes which precede it. There is a little singing along the way, but - as in most of the early Cassidy movies - the music is pleasant, authentic to its genre, and does not interfere with the plot or action. Also, Trail Dust contains some good scenes of cattle-droving, using some real-life cowboys. Quite Enjoyable.
  • It's a Depression time in the old west just as it was for the movie going public when Trail Dust came out in 1936. The price of beef cattle is sky high and a greedy rancher played by Morris Ankrum wants to keep the price high. So he looks askance when a relief committee seeks to buy cattle for relief purposes, including the herd from the Bar 20 Ranch where Hopalong Cassidy is the foreman.

    Hoppy and the gang have to drive the herd to the railroad terminal to be paid. Ankrum's one ruthless dude however. He joins the trail drive under an alias and continues any number of nefarious schemes to prevent Hoppy's herd from arriving.

    Of course Bill Boyd, Jimmy Ellison and Gabby Hayes are up to the challenge. Trail Dust is a bit unusual in that Hoppy is for once dealing with a plot that involves his chosen profession, ranch foreman. Most of the Cassidy features involve him getting in all kinds of circumstances that have nothing to do with being foreman of the Bar 20. Perhaps this one sticks to the trail because it is taken directly from one of Clarence Mulford's novels.

    The plot involving a depression and relief certainly struck the right note with a 1936 movie audience. Trail Dust holds up fairly well today for B western film of the time.
  • bsmith555214 June 2003
    "Trail Dust" from the Hopalong Cassidy series is a real duster in every sense of the word. Most of the story takes place on a dusty and dry cattle drive.

    Unscrupulous cattleman Tex Anderson (Stephen Morris) is withholding his cattle from a hungry market in order to drive up prices. The cattle buyers prevail upon some smaller ranchers including Hoppy (William Boyd)to form a drive and bring their cattle to market. Hoppy takes on the job of trail boss and is joined by his two pals Johnny Nelson (Jimmy Ellison) and Windy Halliday (George "Gabby" Hayes). Along the way the pick up the heroine Beth Clark (Gwynne Simpson)who is searching for her father. Unbeknownst to the group is that the evil Tex Williams has hired on in order to sabotage the drive and his cattle to reach the market first.

    This is a better than average entry in the series. Produced by Harry "Pop" Sherman and directed by Nate West, this adventure takes place on the trail and leaves the viewer as thirsty as the cattle from all of the dust and long days along the trail. At 77 minutes this picture is longer than most series westerns but benefits from the extra running time. The outdoor photography is breathtaking and gives the viewer the feel of being on the trail too. In fact Boyd's traditional black costume is covered in dust through most of the film, unheard of for most "B" western heroes.

    Boyd plays Hoppy the trail boss with an edge unusual for a series western hero. He takes no guff from anyone including his friends. This is what set the early Hoppys above most of the competition of the day. Hayes had still not adopted the "Gabby" nickname at this point. He was still being billed as George Hayes. Ellison was nearing the end of his tenure on the series, wanting to go on to "A" features. Morris became better known as Morris Ankrum later in his career.

    As usual at the end, Ellison dumps the heroine and Hayes makes a remarkable recovery from a leg wound to ride after Hoppy and join him for the next adventure.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    An unusual Hopalong Cassidy western, with Hoppy leading a consortium of brands of small herds of cattle from the panhandle of Texas to 'the north',(presumably a Kansas railhead called Plainville), where it was reported people were starving because of a severe drought. In contrast to the Panhandle Cattle Association, this group was willing not to gouge the people up there with excessive prices for their cattle, due to their scarcity. However, the trail drive turns out to be fraught with various man-made obstacles, in addition to the natural danger of dry waterholes. In fact, Hoppy was running a race with a large herd led by a Lewis, who wanted to gouge the customers. Fortunately, Hoppy's herd got a head start, which Hoppy meant to keep, despite the best efforts of Lewis's people to put obstacles in his path. Lewis sent two of his best hands to join up with Hoppy, hoping they could think of ways to slow down his progress. Their names were Tex Anderson (Morris Ankrum), and Joe Wilson(Ted Adams). One problem with pushing cattle too hard was that they would lose weight, which would figure in the price they would likely receive. Nonetheless, Hoppy felt some urgency due to the competing herd and the starving people up north........ One of the things Lewis did try to slow down Hoppy was to send a party of 'trail cutters' to bother him when the cattle were being driven. I still don't understand their function. For some reason, they wanted to separate out one brand of his cattle, which were mixed in with the other brands. Hoppy snubbed them as best he could, but they would reappear later.......... One night, Hoppy's bunch heard gunshots from where the cattle were. They found that some of their cattle were being rustled. Simultaneously, they saw their chuck wagon ablaze. All their provisions were ruined by the fire.(No word on where they got a replacement chuck wagon!). To replace their provisions, they had to patronize Waggoner's store. Unfortunately, Waggoner didn't get along with Hoppy. Windy went to get the provisions, but when Waggoner figured out that he was with Hoppy, he got hostile, and took Windy's gun, then socked him. Before Waggoner's men could do more damage to Windy, Hoppy showed up, and got the drop on them, with his 2 guns. He and Windy then took their gun belts, and scattered their horses by shooting in the air.........Along the trail, Johnny Nelson : Hoppy's righthand man, discovers an unconscious woman. They put her in the chuck wagon until they make camp. Then, they find out that she is Beth Clark, and that she fell off her horse, while searching for her father, who maintained cattle trails(Lewis had captured him)........Johnny tries to get cozy with Beth, who goes along with the trail drive. Johnny had a fair singing voice, and , around the camp fire, sometimes sings two compositions by Harry Tobias and Jack Stern, called "Beneath a Western Sky", and "Wide Open Spaces", both quite appropriate for a cattle drive. Later, Beth would voluntarily gallop the rest of the way to Plainsville, to tell them that relatively cheap beef was on it's way........Countering Lewis's tricks, Hoppy started a brush fire, behind his own herd, ahead of Lewis's herd, to hopefully delay Lewis, whose herd had been catching up to his own. In a counter measure, Wilson knocks out Windy, who was guarding the chuck wagon, and steals the several sticks of dynamite. He and Anderson take the dynamite to the entrance to Black Canyon(in Kansas?), climb up to the top and implant the sticks so that they should cause a rock slide across the mouth of the canyon. Very fortunately, Hoppy trailed them and climbed to where they were. He shot both dead, then searched for the lit dynamite: very dangerous. Fortunately, he found them in time and threw them away, and his cattle made it through the canyon.(I don't know how Lewis's cattle were supposed to get through the canyon if the dynamite had worked?!)........As the members of Hoppy's drive say goodbye to each other , at the conclusion, Hoppy was hoping that Johnny and Windy would ride into the sunset with him, for his next adventure. But Johnny wanted to stay with Beth, and Windy had some reason to stay. We see a glum Hoppy moseying down a trail, alone. But, then we see Johnny and Windy catch up to Hoppy. Once again, Jimmy had left his girlfriend at the alter, so to speak, preferring to rejoin Hoppy........I got a little bored with all the scenes of moving , bellowing, cattle, stirring up clouds of dust. Also, I get weary of Windy uttering his signature sayings, such as "durn persnickety woman" and "You're durn tootin', Hoppy"........As usual for Hoppy films, location shooting took place, near or in the Sierras, so why we had a canyon in Kansas. Although we think of Hoppy as a cowboy, unlike Johnny, for instance, you'll notice he never wears chaps. Also, like his competitors Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger, but unlike the others in his films, he always wears two gun holsters: the better to intimidate his foes.......See it at YouTube
  • chipe11 July 2014
    It's almost as though the other reviewers here were reviewing another movie than the one I saw. It was decent, and perhaps pretty good for the time it was made (1936), but I found it pretty creaky, mediocre, almost juvenile with all the Windy-Johnny banter.

    For me, one sign of a weak adventure movie is seeing the hero easily start a brush fire to deter the bad guys, here the bad guy's herd of cattle.

    Another thing that threw me was that Hoppy suddenly is convinced to organize a cattle drive to deliver cheap food to a hungry town. I couldn't understand why it would make any difference as to whose herd reached that town first -- benevolent Hoppy's herd (which would be sold by Hoppy for a fair low price) or a greedy bad guy's rival herd (who would charge a lot for his cattle). What was the rush? Why should a day or two matter? Hoppy could have easily sent a horseback rider to the town, telling the townspeople to wait for Hoppy's inexpensive cattle.