(director: Joe Kane; screenwriters: Olive Cooper/Roy Chanslor; cinematographer: Reggie Lanning; editor: Arthur Roberts; music: Mort Glickman; cast: Roy Rogers (Himself), Smiley Burnette (Frog Millhouse), Virginia Grey (Terry Grey), Ona Munson (Belle Bonner), Harry J. Shannon (Judge John Grey aka Tom Allison), Dick Purcell (Duke Springer), The Sons of the Pioneers (Themselves), Arthur Hohl (Spike Madagan), Onslow Stevens (State Ranger Bob Stevens), Hal Taliafero (Bud), Roy Barcroft (Townsman Slugging Bud), The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir (Themselves), Forrest Taylor (Clem Pyle), Jack Kirk (Andy, bus driver), Bob Nolan (Bob), The Sons of the Pioneers (Themselves); Runtime: 68; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joe Kane; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1943)
“Formulaic Roy Rogers western, that follows the amiable singing cowboy in his pursuit of justice in clearing the name of a reformer judge with an unsavory past.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Joe Kane (“Dakota”/”In Old Sacramento”/”Wyoming”) ably directs this formulaic Roy Rogers western, that follows the amiable singing cowboy in his pursuit of justice in clearing the name of a reformer judge with an unsavory past. It’s based on the screenplay by Olive Cooper and Roy Chanslor.
The respected judge, John Grey (Harry J. Shannon), of Canyon City, Idaho, has dedicated his recent life in rehabilitating wayward boys at his ranch while his pretty daughter Terry (Virginia Grey) runs the boys’ choir (The Robert Mitchell Boy Choir). While the ranch is filled with guests to celebrate Terry’s birthday and head ranger Bob Stevens (Onslow Stevens) and his deputy Roy Rogers are turned down after proposing to Terry, two wanted killers, Duke Springer (Dick Purcell) and Spike Madagan (Arthur Hohl), secretly visit the ranch and confront the judge that he’s the notorious gentleman bank robber Tom Allison. Which turns out true, as the judge is an ex-convict whose real name is Allison and served time some 22 years ago and paid his debt to society. The thugs give their former colleague a beating after he refuses to hide them and escape by car. But are pursued by the rangers on horse. The thugs are given a lift to Belle Bonner’s (Ona Munson) casino by passing motorist Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette), a ranch-hand of Grey’s, when their car stalls because Roy hit the gas tank. Belle welcomes the gangsters and hides them in her shack in the hills, and uses the info they provide to blackmail the judge into stopping the town council from closing her gambling and prostitute place in exchange for keeping his secret from the town. The judge refuses. Thereby the two visiting thugs hold-up the bank and kill a bystander. The incident is blamed on Allison, and when the judge’s past is revealed it’s up to Roy to straighten things out. When he does, he wins the girl of his dreams.
One can question, even if the film doesn’t, if the judge by not revealing his past prison time has committed a felony and that despite his good deeds, he would in the very least be removed from the bench.
REVIEWED ON 9/2/2013 GRADE: C+