GenreAdventure, Western ProducerKing Vidor LanguageEnglish
WriterKing Vidor, Elizabeth Hill, Louis Stevens, Walter Prescott Webb Release dateAugust 28, 1936 (1936-08-28) (U.S.) CastFred MacMurray (Jim Hawkins), Jack Oakie (Henry B. 'Wahoo' Jones), Jean Parker (Amanda Bailey), Lloyd Nolan (Sam 'Polka Dot' McGee), Edward Ellis (Major Bailey), Benny Bartlett (David) Similar moviesDances with Wolves, The Green Mile, Night at the Museum, Legends of the Fall, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Back to the Future Part III
The Texas Rangers is a 1936 action Western film directed by King Vidor and starring Fred MacMurray and Jack Oakie. The picture was nominated for Best Sound (Franklin B. Hansen) at the 1936 Oscars. The film was inspired by incidents from Walter Prescott Webb's 1935 history book The Texas Rangers, A Century Of Frontier Defense but filmed in New Mexico.
The movie involves two out-of-luck Texas Rangers who must arrest an old friend turned outlaw. The supporting cast features Lloyd Nolan and George "Gabby" Hayes.
Sam, Jim and "Wahoo" are outlaws with a sweet racket. Wahoo is a stagecoach driver who feeds information of routes and cargoes of stagecoaches to his outlaw confederates Sam and Jim, who rob the stage and shoot at Wahoo to prove he has nothing to do with the robberies. The three split up one night when lawmen surround their camp and they make their escape but Sam is nowhere to be found.
Wahoo and Jim continue their racket until one day a Texas Ranger rides shotgun on the couch next to Wahoo. Jim is supposed to rob the stage when the stagecoach stops to water their mules but Wahoo has a feeling about the Ranger and won't let Jim rob the stage, instead bundling a mystified Jim on board as a paying passenger. Wahoo and Jim realise their lives have been saved when the Ranger quickly kills two other robbers.
Needing money and impressed by the Ranger's reputation, Jim and Wahoo join the Rangers with the pair planning to use the position to enrich themselves. When sent to locate cattle rustlers Jim and Wahoo discover they are led by Sam who agrees that teaming up to work both ends against the middle will make all of them rich. However Wahoo and Jim begin to have second thoughts when they take on a group of hostile Indians who have murdered the family of young David whom they look after. Jim gets a strong reputation among the Rangers when he saves their company from annihilation by a large Apache war party. Jim becomes so trusted he is sent to singlehandedly brings a murdering town boss by arresting and prosecuting him. Jim originally plans to install Sam is the new town boss but changes his mind and has Sam promise to leave the area.
Sam begins a reign of terror but Jim seems too noticeably reluctant to bring him to justice.
Fred MacMurray as Jim Hawkins
Jack Oakie as Henry B. "Wahoo" Jones
Jean Parker as Amanda Bailey
Lloyd Nolan as Sam "Polka Dot" McGee
Edward Ellis as Major Bailey
Benny Bartlett as David
Frank Shannon as Capt. Stafford
Frank Cordell as Ranger Ditson
Richard Carle as Casper Johnson
Jed Prouty as District Attorney Dave Twitchell
Fred Kohler as Jess Higgens
Charles Middleton as Higgins's lawyer
George "Gabby" Hayes as Judge Snow
The movie was followed by a sequel in 1940 called The Texas Rangers Ride Again with a new cast.
The movie was remade in 1949 as Streets of Laredo.