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$50,000 Reward1924

$50,000 REWARD was one of the first starring features for Ken Maynard, a circus and rodeo trick rider who fast became a hugely popular star of early westerns. He plays cowpuncher Tex Sherwood, riding up from the Lone Star State on his faithful steed (billed as "Tarzan, Ken Maynard's Pal") to the site of a major dam-building project in Montana (for which the filmmakers used Hollywood's then in-progress Mulholland Dam as their location). He comes bearing mysterious documents that a bunch of bad guys want to relieve him of. There isn't much riding, roping or shooting in this somewhat atypical "oater" but there is a cast of colorful and amusing supporting characters, notably including a half-dozen Broadway showgirls on a ranch vacation. But Tex only has eyes for the dam designer's daughter as portrayed by Esther Ralston, an in-demand beauty whose other screen assignments this particular year alone included starring for Ernst Lubitsch (in THE MARRIAGE CIRCLE) and acting opposite everyone from Betty Bronson's famous Peter Pan to legendary prizefighter Jack Dempsey. - Dennis Harvey

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