In 1932’s Ride Him, Cowboy, John Drury (John Wayne) passes through a town that just tried and convicted a horse named Duke for attempted murder. John says the horse isn’t dangerous, but the town disagrees. However, he convinces them to let the animal live if he can ride it. Of course Drury rides Duke like a champ which pleases everyone including the fair maiden, Ruth Gaunt.
After saving Duke, John sets out to save the town from the outlaw known as the Hawk. Unfortunately, they do not have any idea what the bandit looks like; not even one description. However, the Hawk’s been busy swooping into town, and terrorizing everyone who lives there.
A local named Henry Simms offers to help John capture the Hawk by guiding Drury into the Hawk’s territory. However, once the two are alone in the desert, Simms reveals himself to be the very man they set out to capture.
The Hawk gets the better of John, and ties him to a Joshua Tree; leaves him for dead. Duke rides in, and saves John. While this is going on, Simms returns, and burns down a ranch. He then frames Drury as the Hawk when he plants Drury’s harmonica he took from him in the smoldering ruins. With the town now believing Drury to be the notorious Hawk, they arrest him for murder so that can hang him—dead.
Ruth shows up to the worst comedic trial ever put to film. She has a witness that has just regained consciousness, and he can peg Simms as the real Hawk. Just then, Simms’ gang busts down the door to hold everyone at gunpoint.
Simms kidnaps Ruth, but Drury manages to put together a posse to round up the villain and his gang. Once again, the Hawk gets the better of John, and knocks him out. This time, Duke is ready for him. He corners the Hawk, and kills him with his hooves of steel for a happy ending.