The Great Train Robbery: Where Westerns Began

A great film tradition – the Western – started with The Great Train Robbery in 1903. Edwin S. Porter's 10 minute film combined western themes with innovative cinematic techniques (narrative storytelling, parallel editing, minor camera movement, location shooting, etc.). And the film took its inspiration from an event that became the stuff of legend: Butch Cassidy's 1900 train heist, which ended with Cassidy blowing open a safe and escaping with $5,000 in cash.

Porter's landmark film helped spark America's love affair with Western films. Thousands of Westerns flooded cinemas throughout the silent era - films like Broncho Billy and The Greaser (1914)Sky High (1922), and West of Hot Dog (1924). And though the Western faded briefly with the advent of sound film (circa 1927), the genre staged a major comeback with the release of Stagecoach (1939), a John Ford film that turned John Wayne into one of Hollywood's enduring stars. And yes, we have catalogued 25 free John Wayne Films right here. To find other free Westerns, visit this YouTube channel.

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John Wayne: 26 Free Western Films Online

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32 years after his death, John Wayne (né Marion Morrison) remains a tremendously popular movie star. According to a Harris Poll taken earlier this month (January 2011), Americans still rank The Duke as their third most favorite actor, putting him right behind Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington. No doubt about it, the legend of John Wayne continues to grow. And happily you can find a gold mine of John Wayne Western films online – all free. Today, we have pulled together a list of 25 films that span five decades of work, moving from the 1930s to the 1970s. You can find them all otherwise listed in our collection of Free Movies Online.

  • Angel and the Badman Free - A black and white Western starring John Wayne and Gail Russell. Considered a radical departure from the Western genre at the time. Find Internet Archive version here. (1947)
  • Blue Steel – Free – John Wayne plays a U.S. Marshal trying to capture the Polka Dot Bandit. Some consider it the best of the John Wayne Lone Star films. Alternative version on YouTube here. (1934)
  • Born to the West - Free - Can Dare Rudd prove he is responsible enough to win the heart of Judy and also outwit the crooked saloon owner? Stars John Wayne, Marsha Hunt and John Mack Brown.



  • Frontier Horizon - Free - The Three Mesqueteers try to prevent wholesale slaughter in this fine Republic Western. Stars John Wayne, Ray "Crash" Corrigan, and Raymond Hatton. (1939)
  • HelltownFree - Originally called "Born to the West," this John Wayne Western was based on a novel by Zane Grey, an important author of Western novels. (1937)
  • McLintock!Free - Comedy Western starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Loosely based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. (1963)
  • 'Neath the Arizona SkiesFree - John Wayne plays a cowboy protecting an oil-land heiress. (1934)
  • Paradise CanyonFree - Features Wayne as "government agent John Wyatt who searches for a counterfeit ring operating on the Mexican/Arizona border." (1935)
  • Rainbow Valley - Free - John Martin (John Wayne) is a "government agent working under cover. Leading citizen Morgan calls in gunman Butch Galt (Buffalo Bill Jr.) who blows Martin's cover." Find the YouTube version here. (1935)
  • Randy Rides Alone – Free – Jailed for murders he didn’t commit, Randy Bowers (John Wayne) escapes only to stumble into the den of the real murderers. Entertaining early Wayne Western. (1934)
  • Riders of Destiny -Free - John Wayne portrays Singin' Sandy Saunders and has a reputation as the most notorious gunman since Billy the Kid. Wayne was the first singing cowboy, but his singing was dubbed, and it was the last time he "sang" in a Western. (1933)
  • Sagebrush TrailFree - John Wayne plays John Brant who escapes from jail after being wrongly accused of murder. Features great stagecoach chase. (1933)
  • Texas TerrorFree – A young John Wayne in a romantic Western. (1935)
  • The Dawn Rider Free - John Wayne plays John Mason, a man avenging his father's murder. A Western directed by Robert Bradbury. (1935)
  • The Desert Trail Free - Early Western with John Wayne. According to WesternClippings, not Wayne's finest hour. (1935)
  • The Lawless Frontier Free – B Western starring John Wayne and directed by Robert Bradbury. (1934)
  • The Lucky Texan Free - Jerry Mason (played by John Wayne) and Jake Benson become partners and strike it rich with a gold mine. (1934)
  • The Man From Utah Free – The Marshal sends John Weston (John Wayne) to a "rodeo to see if he can find out who is killing the rodeo riders who are about to win prize money." (1934)
  • The Range Feud - Free - Clint Turner is arrested for the murder of his girlfriend Judy's father, a rival rancher who was an enemy of his own father. Stars John Wayne and Buck Jones. (1931)
  • The Star Packer Free – “A gang working for 'The Shadow' is terrorizing the town. John Travers (John Wayne) decides to take on the job of sheriff and do something about it.” (1934)
  • The Trail Beyond - Free – Western starring John Wayne, Noah Beery, Sr., and Noah Beery, Jr. (1934)
  • Two Fisted Law - Free - After Rob Russell steals Tim Clark's ranch, Clark starts prospecting for silver. Stars John Wayne and Tim McCoy. (1932)
  • War of the Wildcats Free – John Wayne stars in a Western also released under the title In Old Oklahoma. One of Wayne’s better post-Stagecoach performances. (1943)
  • West of the Divide – Free – A young John Wayne in a B Western. (1934)
  • Winds of the Wasteland - Free - The arrival of the telegraph put Pony Express riders like John Blair (John Wayne) and his pal Smoky (Lane Chandler) out of work they try to start a stagecoach route through a ghost town. A rival stagecoach company tries to stop them. (1936)

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