The Indians Are Coming
Directed byHenry MacRae
StarringTim McCoy
Allene Ray
Edmund Cobb
Francis Ford
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • 1930 (1930)
Running time
12 chapters
CountryUnited States
Box officeAlmost $1,000,000[1]

The Indians Are Coming is a 1930 American Pre-Code Universal movie serial based on The Great West That Was by William "Buffalo Bill" Cody. The serial was the first "all-talking" (complete sound rather than a silent movie with occasional sound sections) film of its kind. It played at The Roxy Theatre and was responsible for saving the film serial format into the sound era.


Jack Manning (Tim McCoy) arrives in town from Gold Creek, California. He brings a message from George Woods (Francis Ford) to George's brother Tom Woods (Francis Ford in a dual role), and his niece Mary (Allene Ray), informing them he has struck gold and asking them to travel to California via a wagon train to be with him. Jack and Mary fall in love much to the displeasure of Rance Carter (Wilbur McGaugh), who has a yen for Mary himself. Carter causes the local Indians to go on the warpath in an attempt to break up Jack and Mary's wedding plans.



Along with a sequel Battling with Buffalo Bill (1931), this serial was based on a book called The Great West That Was by William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.[3] Henry MacRae was the director.[4]



The release of The Indians Are Coming was the first time a serial was given an "uptown" treatment. The serial played at The Roxy in New York City and had full runs across the country.[3]

According to Raymond Stedman, The Indians Are Coming earned a profit on "near" $1M.[1] The success of the serial ended doom-mongering about the sound technology being the end of the serial format.[1] It is "credited with reviving interest in what seemed to be a dying form of entertainment" and proved that action sequences could still be done with sound equipment.[3]

Critical reception

Stedman compares Tim McCoy's delivery to that of Adam West in the Batman television series but declares it restrained compared to other stars. He goes on to comment that "Only the dog managed not to fall victim to the natural tendency of actors groomed in the silent film to overplay when thrust into a talkie."[1]

Chapter titles

  1. Pals in Buckskin
  2. A Call to Arms
  3. A Furnace of Fear
  4. The Red Terror
  5. The Circle of Death
  6. Hate's Harvest
  7. Hostages of Fear
  8. The Dagger Duel
  9. The Blast of Death
  10. Redskin's Vengeance
  11. Frontiers Aflame
  12. The Trail's End


See also


  1. ^ a b c d Stedman, Raymond William (1971). "3. At This Theater Next Week". Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 58–59. ISBN 978-0-8061-0927-5.
  2. ^ Wollstein, Hans J. "Wilbur McGaugh". AllMovie. Netaktion LLC. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Cline, William C. (1984). "2. In Search of Ammunition". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
  4. ^ "The Indians Are Coming (1930)". AllMovie. Netaktion LLC. Archived from the original on June 16, 2021. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  5. ^ Cline, William C. (1984). "Filmography". In the Nick of Time. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 202. ISBN 0-7864-0471-X.
Preceded byTerry of the Times (1930) Universal Serial The Indians are Coming (1930) Succeeded byFinger Prints (1931)