THE MIRACLE RIDER (1935)
Article #1144 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-2-2004
Posting Date: 9-29-2004
Directed by B. Reeves Eason and Armand Schaefer
Featuring Tom Mix, Joan Gale, Charles Middleton
A Texas Ranger tries to protect the indians of a reservation from the machinations of an industrialist trying to scare them off of their lands.
As of yet, I haven’t covered any of the many western serials that were made, but the reason for this is that the western serials were the ones least likely to have any fantastic elements. There are exceptions, of course; one of the more famous serials is THE PHANTOM EMPIRE, which is chock full of both western and science fiction elements. This lesser-known serial also has definite science fiction elements; the possession of a powerful element known as X-94 is the drivng force behind the plot, and the first few episodes feature a remote-control flying mini-plane used to scare the indians. This would be the last film of silent western star Tom Mix, who was well into his fifties when this was made, but he still seemed pretty energetic. He wore a big hat, and furthermore, he knew how to use it; there are a few times here where it serves as a decoy to draw fire. The serial itself is not bad, but then I also just enjoyed the novelty of watching something a little different from the usual serials I’ve watched. Some of the cliffhangers go beyond cheating to outright lying; a cliffhanger that shows him about to be trampled by horses is so completely redone in the following episode that the peril vanishes altogether.