Gene Autry, Gail Davis, and Champion in Indian Territory (1950)


(director: John English; screenwriter: Norman S. Hall; cinematographer: William Bradford; editor: James Sweeney; cast: Gene Autry (Himself), Pat Buttram (Shadrach Jones), Gail Davis (Melody Colton), Pat Collins (Jim Colton), Kirby Grant (Lieutenant Randy Mason), James Griffith (Apache Kid aka Johnny Corday), Philip Van Zandt (Curt Raidler), Roy Gordon (Major Farrell), Robert Carson (Captain Wallace), Charles Stevens (Soma), Wes Hudman (Cook); Runtime: 70; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Armand Scaefer; Image Entertainment; 1950)

Typical Gene Autry B-western, which is not saying much.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Typical Gene Autry B-western, which is not saying much. Director John English (“Mule Train”/”The Adventures of Captain Marvel”/”The Strawberry Roan“)throws in a few comical fistfights, a few Indian raids, a stampede, some lame comic relief from Pat Buttram, three songs from Autry (including the lively “The Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy“)and a half-baked story line about renegade Indians under the influence of an unscrupulous white man. The weak screenplay is provided by Norman S. Hall.The film freely borrows footage from Arizona (1940).

It’s set in the Old West, just following the Civil War.Former Confederate cavalry captain Gene Autry (Gene Autry), now a sergeant in the Union Army, brings his fort commander, Major Farrell, news that the recent Indian raids are caused by young renegade Indians led by half-breed Johnny Corday aka the Apache Kid (James Griffith). The Apache chiefs would like to put an end to the raids, but don’t know where the renegades are getting the rifles. Autry, along with sidekick scout, Shadrach Jones (Pat Buttram), go on special assignment, without uniforms, to Apache Springs. There Autry prevents newcomer rancher Jim Colton (Pat Collins) from being rustled by Corday. In town, Autry discovers that Corday partners with an evil former major in the Austrian army and former officer in Quantrill’s Raiders, Curt Raidler (Philip Van Zandt), who was booted out of both places because he’s a bad dude.

Autry receives help from undercover cavalry Lieutenant Randy Mason (Kirby Grant), as they handle the baddies fermenting Indian trouble in the hopes they can become cattle barons. Gail Davis plays the feisty daughter of rancher Colton, who falls in love with Mason.

On the positive side, Autry takes a sympathetic view towards the Indians, and is shown speaking Apache and being a blood brother to the Chiricahua.