Clay Tallant is on his way to Silver City, Arizona to meet up with his brother, Orin. As he approaches the town, he stops a stagecoach robbery being attempted by Frank McCloskey and his gang. In intervening, Clay saves Kitty Rivers, a singer in the town's saloon, who is engaged to Orin. In town, the marshal accuses McCloskey of the robbery, after which he is killed by McCloskey, who works for the sheriff, Jake Mannen. Clay is offered the job of marshal by Mayor Ed Comstoc, and accepts. As he attempts to clean up the town, he runs afoul of Mannen. Clay arrests "Shot-gun" Keeler and the rest of McCloskey's gang, but they are released by the judge, who is on Mannen's payroll. Mannen hires gunman Tex Randolph to come in and dispose of Clay, but this backfires when Randolph instead joins Clay and Orin.
Mannen sets up several ambushes in which to kill Clay, but one of them leads to Clay killing McCloskey. However, eventually Mannen traps Clay, Orin, Tex, and Pompey (their servant) in a burning building. When Pompey makes a break for it to get help, he is gunned down. As the three lawmen begin to battle back against Mannen and his henchmen, Clay is saved by a mysterious woman, who shoots and kills Mannen just as he was taking aim on Clay.
Having cleaned up the town, Clay leaves Silver City, taking Kitty with him, who has changed her romantic interest from Orin to his brother.
(cast list as per AFI database)*Richard Dix as Clay Tallant
Margot Grahame as Kitty Rivers
Preston Foster as Tex Randolph
Louis Calhern as Sheriff Jake Mannen
James Bush as Orin Tallant
Ray Mayer as Frank McCloskey
Willie Best as Pompey
Hattie McDaniels as Sarah
Joseph Sauers as Shot-gun Keeler
Francis Ford as Mayor Ed Comstoc
The film was shot from early April to mid-May, 1935, with parts of the film shot at the RKO ranch in Encino, California. Originally titled, Boom Days, towards the end of filming, the title was changed to The Arizonian. By June 6, filming was completed.
The film was released on June 28, 1935.
The Film Daily gave The Arizonian a good review, calling it a "Western epic with historical background ...", and giving high marks to Dix's acting, Vidor's direction, and the photography of Wenstrom. Motion Picture Daily, also gave the film a positive review stating, "Routine heroics in every foot make this a superior western ...". They went on to praise the acting in the film, calling it "excellent", particularly singling out Preston Foster's performance. Another good review was given by the Motion Picture Herald, calling it "entertaining" and "amusing", saying that Dix was ideal in the role, and also praising Foster, Calhern, Sauers, and Mayer. Motion Picture Magazine rated the film "AAA", their second highest rating (good), complimenting the plot, action, and acting. Picture Play magazine stated the film was "An out and out Western that has all the essentials of the old ones, yet is more concerned with conversation and character than riding ...." They called Dix's performance "excellent", and thought Grahame's performance was admirable and interesting, although they questioned the fact that her being obviously British was never addressed in the film. While they thought the plot was standard, they felt the acting and directing elevated the level of the film.