THE MIRACLE RIDER (1935). 15 chapter Mascot serial. Directed by Armand Schaefer and B. Reeves Eason.
In this “modern-day” Western serial, the comparatively bland Tom Mix is cast as Texas Ranger Tom Morgan, who comes up against Zarnoff (Charles Middleton), who wants to scare the Indians off a reservation because it holds a mine with an explosive ore. Zarnoff uses a airship to try and convince the Indians that a deadly “Firebird” is on the loose. The ore is used to make formula X49, which is employed to create a fire-causing beam of destruction. Not even the great Middleton can save this dull serial that is poorly edited and lacks suspense. The only good thing about it is the snappy theme music that opens each episode. Joan Gale plays Ruth; Bob Fraser is Black Wing, and Jason Robards is Carlson.
Verdict: Below the level of most other Mascot serials. *1/2.