SPRINGTIME IN THE SIERRAS (director: William Witney; screenwriter: A. Sloan Nibley; cinematographer: Jack Marta; editor: Tony Martinelli; music: Morton Scott; cast: Roy Rogers (Himself), Andy Devine (“Cookie” Bullfincher), Jane Frazee (Taffy Baker), Stephanie Bachelor (Jean Loring), Hal Landon (Bert Baker), Frank Dae (Preacher), Harry V. Cheshire (Captain Foster), Milton Kibbee (Judge), Roy Barcroft (Matt Wilkes), Buck Moulton (Henchman); Runtime: 74; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Edward J. White; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1947)
“A decent Roy Rogers Western directed in a fast-pace by William Witney.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A decent Roy Rogers Western directed in a fast-pace by William Witney(“Darktown Strutters”/”Panama Sal”/”Santa Fe Passage”), whose villains are illegal hunters–not the usual Western plot. The screenplay by A. Sloan Nibley is slight, but there are plenty of fistfights and it makes a strong case against hunters who are not sportsmen.
Roy Rogers returns to his childhood home with the Sons of the Pioneers to deliver in Mountain View, somewhere in the Sierras, horses to the new eastern ranch owner of the Lazy W, Jean Loring (Stephanie Bachelor), and on the way delivers a stranded fawn to his old pal Captain Foster (Harry V. Cheshire). After retiring from the army, the Captain has dedicated his life to caring for animals at a shelter he built for them. The Captain tells Roy that lately professional hunters are killing deer and wild game out of season with high-powered rifles and he’s on the trail of the gang, who are selling the meat illegally for a high profit.
The next day Roy chases after an illegal hunter using a high-powered rifle to kill a buck, but the hunter escapes on foot by jumping into the river as Roy captures the fleeing hunter’s horse marked with the brand of the Lazy W Ranch. Meanwhile the Captain encounters the fleeing hunter, Bert (Hal Landon), who makes extra money working as an illegal hunter for Jean Loring and her brutish foreman Matt (Roy Barcroft). When the Captain has the drop on Bert and the gang and is ready to bring them to the sheriff, Jean comes up from behind and takes his gun. The cold-blooded woman kills the Captain with his own gun and dumps his body back at his ranch, making it seem like an accidental shooting.
Roy suspects foul play and is helped by Bert’s innocent sister Taffy (Jane Frazee) in investigating the new owner of the Lazy W. Meanwhile Bert has misgivings about his actions, especially since the kind-hearted Captain left his ranch to his sister. But the gang won’t let him quit, fearing he’ll crack and blab. When the town photographer, Cookie (Andy Devine), tells Roy the ranch had a huge refrigeration system put in, the curious Roy gets inside the house to investigate and discovers all the venison and game kept in storage. Now all Roy has to do is escape from the meat freezer he was placed in by Matt and Jean, and he will bag the ruthless poachers.
REVIEWED ON 8/28/2013 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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