The first of five very low-budget westerns featuring former silent-screen cowboy Buffalo Bill Jr. and based on stories by stunt man Yakima Canutt, Trails of the Golden West also marked the talkie debut of former leading lady Wanda Hawley. Along with her father (Horace B. Carpenter) and black servant (George Reed), Hawley is a member of a "forty-niners" wagon train headed for the California gold fields. When a member of the crew (Tom London) spots the girl hiding the family jewels in her wagon, he "arranges" a fake small pox scare that threatens to leave the wagon quarantined. When that ploy fails, he has a gang of Indians swoop down on the train, but the attack is foiled by wagon train leader Buffalo Bill Jr.. Produced in 1930 by small-scale West Coast Studios, Trails of the Golden West was directed by Leander de Cordova, a distinguished-looking supporting actor from Jamaica, who later played one of the hero's chief foes in the popular Republic serial Zorro's Fighting Legion (1939).
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