Tom Mix's penultimate silent western, this film was executive produced by Joseph P. Kennedy (the father of the president), whose small-time FBO company was about to merge into the new RKO Radio conglomerate. Unfortunately, neither The Drifter nor Mix's final film for Kennedy, The Big Diamond Robbery (1929), were high points in a career that had brought the former Selig player fame and fortune as the most beloved western star of the 1920s. The Drifter incorporated several airplane stunts as Mix's deputy marshal goes after a gang of dope smugglers, the leader of which turns out to be aviator Albert J. Smith. Mix and a colleague (weasel-looking Barney Furey) go undercover on Dorothy Dwan's ranch, where they discover a hidden gold mine. Unfortunately, Kennedy was not willing to pay for stunt-flyers, and the airplane scenes were all-too-obviously filmed on the ground. Mix left Hollywood following the conclusion of his contract with Kennedy and travelled with the Sells-Floto Circus. The aging star returned in 1932 with a series for Universal, but although the films proved profitable, the Mix magic was gone.
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