John Wayne was a busy actor in the 1930s. After taking his first lead in the epic The Big Trail (1930), an ambitious early sound western that became an expensive failure for Fox, the strapping young actor was tried out in college films, sports movies, dramas, and comedies, but it was in westerns and action films where he found the success. He quickly established himself as a reliable young hero in dozens of low budget westerns, most of which ran under an hour. The double feature was coming into popularity and westerns were an inexpensive way to get a second movie on the bill, or even play top of the bill in rural theaters.
Monogram was just the company to supply those films and in 1933 they hired Wayne to an eight-picture deal. Sagebrush Trail (1933) was his second picture for Monogram.
Plays on TCM on Tuesday, April 22