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Lightning Strikes West (1940)

When Butch Taggart escapes prison, the Marshal sends Lightning Morgan to find him and his hidden gold. He finds the map to the gold on Taggart's boot. Joe Laikon and his men are also after ... See full summary »


Harry L. Fraser (as Harry Fraser)


Martha Chapin (screenplay), Harry L. Fraser (story) (as Munro Talbot)




Complete credited cast:
Ken Maynard ... Lightning Ken Morgan
Claire Rochelle Claire Rochelle ... Mae Grant
Bob Terry ... Tad Grant (as Robert Terry)
Michael Vallon ... Butch Taggart
Charles King ... Joe Lakin
Reed Howes ... Frank - Henchman
Dick Dickinson Dick Dickinson ... Mack - Henchman
George Chesebro ... 2nd Sheriff
John Elliott ... Dr. Jenkins
William Gould ... Marshal Jim Correy (as Wm. Gould)
Tarzan Tarzan ... Ken's Horse


When Butch Taggart escapes prison, the Marshal sends Lightning Morgan to find him and his hidden gold. He finds the map to the gold on Taggart's boot. Joe Laikon and his men are also after the gold and they overpower Morgan, get the map, and head for the treasure. But Morgan and Tod Grant are soon on their trail. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Another 100 per cent score for the screen's premier Western star! A cyclonic drama of Love, laughter and slaughter in a land where blue steel Blints, bullets whine, and Death rides on dangerous trails. (Blints probably should have been Glints; otherwise, the culinary delight is misspelled.)


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

1 June 1940 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$15,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Colony Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is one of four Ken Maynard films sold by Colony Pictures in 1940 to the National Broadcasting Company to be telecast on New York's pioneer television station, W2XBS; its earliest documented television broadcast occurred Saturday 8 November 1941 on WNBT (Channel 1). Post-WWII televiewers got their first look at it in New York City Sunday 16 October 1949 on the DuMont Television Network's WABD (Channel 5). See more »


Remade as Enemy of the Law (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

Great performance by Ken Maynard
19 October 2008 | by morrisonhimselfSee all my reviews

Pretty good Western script with a great performance by Ken Maynard make this a must-see movie.

Of course any movie with Charles King is also a must-see, but Maynard and King are surrounded by players ranging from capable to excellent.

George Chesebro gets a rare chance to play a good guy; Wally West gets another unbilled part; Reed Howes and Bob Terry had small parts which they handled very well.

William Gould had what might now be called a cameo, but he might have been the smoothest actor in the entire cast. I thought he showed ability, subtlety, presence enough to have been a major performer. He did have a very long career, anyway.

Michael Vallon beautifully and slimily played a character named Butch Taggart, surely the worst Taggart ever except for James Taggart in "Atlas Shrugged."

But Maynard surprised me. His characterization might well have been his best performance ever. He showed nuance, subtlety, a grasp of his character that might be because of a good director, Harry Fraser, but still had to come from within him.

In one scene, when he tries to convey a message to his horse, Tarzan, his character shows frustration worthy of a Chaplin.

In his next to last performance, the movie "Bigfoot" with tons of great character actors, John Carradine had high praise for his ability in front of a camera, despite a 26-year layoff, his knowing how to stand with the light and avoid shadows. Carradine called Maynard "an old pro."

High praise, indeed, from one of the best, and, coupled with his Lightning Ken Morgan role here, surely enough to earn Ken Maynard another look as an actor, not just a cowboy star.

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