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Heir to Trouble (1935)

Cowboy fights to keep his land after oil is discovered on it.


Ken Maynard (story), Nate Gatzert (screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Ken Maynard ... Ken Armstrong
Joan Perry ... Jane Parker
Harry Woods ... Honest John Motley
Martin Faust ... Ike Davis
Harry Bowen ... Hank Carter
Hal Taliaferro ... 'Spurs' Hawkins (as Wally Wales)
Dorothea Wolbert ... Tillie Tilks
Fern Emmett ... Amanda Witherspoon
Pat O'Malley ... Bill Dwyer


Ken's Friend has died and made him the guardian of his young baby. The baby is linked to Ken's mine that Motley wants. Motley tries to discredit Ken so he can be named the baby's guardian. He also brings in a mining engineer to set an explosive charge that can blow up the mine. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SUSPENSE! as Ken risks dynamite death! (original print ad) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 December 1935 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apuros de Herdeiro See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


One of over a hundred Columbia features, mostly Westerns, sold to Hygo Television Films in the 1950s, who marketed them under the name of Gail Pictures; opening credits were redesigned, with some titles misspelled, the credit order of the players rearranged, some names misspelled, and new end titles attached, thus eliminating any evidence of their Columbia roots. Apparently, the original material was not retained in most of the cases, and the films have survived, even in the Sony library, only with these haphazardly created replacement opening and end credits. See more »


Remade as The Gunman from Bodie (1941) See more »


The Cowboy's Lament
Sung by Ken Maynard with The Arizona Wranglers
See more »

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User Reviews

There is a tad-bit more than the summary indicates.
18 January 2007 | by horn-5See all my reviews

Following the death of his pal Jack Swift, Ken Armstrong (Ken Maynard) decides to adopt the son, whom he has never seen, of his late friend and make him a partner in developing his dilapidated gold mine. Tiring of his wild-and-carefree range life, Ken his hoping to make his fortune marry Jane Parker (Joan Perry, soon to marry Columbia studio prexy Harry Cohen), but runs into trouble when "Honest John" Motley (Harry Woods), owner of the adjoining mine, threatens to take away Ken's property.

The arrival of young Swift adds to Ken's trouble for his new charge is only a baby. With Jane away in the city, Ken enlists the aid of Queenie, the dance-hall hostess. Motley, learning that there is a sizable fortune bequeathed to the child's legal guardian decides to gain custody for himself. He sets the town's gossips on Queenie's trail and before long there is a scandal linking Ken and Queenie with the baby. Motley's next move is to have the local Ladies' Society take the child from Ken and then make Motley the guardian. Jane, back from wherever she had been, is present at the meeting, and unbelieving, visits Ken's shack to see for herself. The scene she sees appears to her that Ken and Queenie have set up some light-housekeeping and, heartbroke, she leaves in tears. Motley insults Ken and a fight ensues during which Motley henchman Ike tries to kill Ken, who beats him to the dawn and wounds him in the shoulder.

In the meantime, back at the mine, Bill Dwyer (Pat O'Malley), Motley's mining engineer, has been instructed to blast into Ken shaft. Ken is kidnapped and imprisoned in a tool shed, but Tarzan (Tarzan the Horse), Ken's horse who hasn't had much to do to this point, has trailed the abductors and goes for air. Ken's friends shoot his way to freedom but Motley holds them at bay by threatening to harm the baby by setting off a dynamite charge directly below them (and any character played by Harry Woods wouldn't hesitate to do so especially since he was holding the baby.) Motley, deciding that setting off the dynamite was a good idea anyway, sets the child down but doesn't notice that Ike (who was still hacked-off by Motley threatening him back in reel two) has a rifle trained on him from above. Tarzan, making up for inactivity earlier in the film, carries the child away to safety. Ike's shot causes Motley to fall on the plunger and set off the dynamite in the mine below.

Jane asks Ken forgiveness.

Film credits Maynard with the Story and Nate Gatzert with the Screen Play (as written with two words on the film), but a Story credit for Maynard on his films was usually an ego-credit, especially since this one had been done a few times before, dating back to silent westerns, including one that had Nate Gatzert with an Original Story and Screen Play credit.

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