|SONG OF NEVADA (director: Joe Kane; screenwriters: Olive Cooper/Gordon Kahn; cinematographer: Jack Marta; editor: Tony Martinelli; music: Mort Glickman; cast: Roy Rogers (Himself), Dale Evans (Joan Barrabee), Mary Lee (Kitty Hanley), Lloyd Corrigan (Professor Hanley), Forrest Taylor (Colonel Jack Thompson), Thurston Hall (John Barrabee), John Eldredge (Rollo Bingham), LeRoy Mason (Ferguson), Bob Nolan (Himself), The Sons of the Pioneers (Themselves), George Meeker (Callahan); Runtime: 72; MPAA Rating:NR; producer: Harry Grey; Mill Creek Entertainment; 1944)|
no action it makes for a dull Western."
by Dennis Schwartz
directed by Joe Kane ("The Crooked
Circle"/"Brimstone"/"The Man Who Died Twice"),
as written by Olive Cooper and Gordon Kahn. Goes out
of the way to denigrate fast-living New York citified
life for the virtues of the bean-eaters of rural
America. It's all melodrama and song, and by having no
action it makes for a dull Western.
Rich Nevada rancher John
Barrabee (Thurston Hall) returns by plane from
Manhattan after failing to bring back his daughter
Jenny (Dale Evans), who goes against his wishes and
remains engaged to snooty fortune hunter Rollo Bingham (John
plans to live with him in New York as a city gal. The
plane makes an emergency stop for repairs in Lomitas,
Nevada. There Barrabee meets singing cowboy Roy Rogers
and the Sons of the Pioneer, as they sing around a
campfire. Having a good time with Roy, Barrabee misses his flight
while out horse back riding and decides to go along
with Roy on his cattle drive. At the end of the cattle
drive they read in the newspaper that the plane
crashed into a dam and Barrabee was reported as
dead. They also read that Jenny plans on selling the
Mesa County ranch and then marrying Rollo, and are at
the ranch now. Barrabee cooks up a scheme to stop the
ranch sale and marriage, as he hires Roy to drive the Barrabee
entry in the annual Frontier Days stagecoach race and
gives him a written contract signed before his death.
The loyal Jenny is forced to honor it. When Roy wins,
Jenny's godfather and friendly neighbor rancher, Colonel Jack Thompson
(Forrest Taylor), is irate because he loses when a tampered axle
bolt causes the stagecoach to go off the road. The
colonel accuses Roy of sabotage after he finds the pin
in his coat pocket. The crooked foreman, Ferguson
(LeRoy Mason), of Barrabee's ranch did the dirty work on the
orders of the jealous Rollo to frame Rogers.
Barrabee, hiding in his
fishing shack, comes up with another scheme, as hires
the conniving mountebank traveling medicine salesman,
Jeremiah Hanley (Lloyd Corrigan) and his teenage daughter
Kitty (Mary Lee) to pose as investors who bought the
ranch prior to Barrabee's death and paid cash for it. It's
presumed the cash went down with Barrabee during the crash,
and Rollo makes plans to exit to New York when he
learns Jenny is broke. But when Roy shows up to tell
Jenny the truth, Rollo overhears it and returns. He
then sends Ferguson to the fishing shack. After a
squabble with the now alive ranch owner over cattle
stolen by the foreman and sold by him for his personal
profit, Roy comes in the nick of time to save Barrabee's life. When
captured for attempted murder and cattle theft,
Ferguson tells the Colonel he was also the culprit who
caused the stagecoach breakdown and the sheriff also
arrests Rollo for his part in that crime. It ends on a
happy note, with Jenny falling in love with Roy and
realizing it's home on the range for her from now on
with the straight-arrow cowboy Rogers.
There's no director that
could have made such a schlocky plot line work, not
even a talented one like Kane.
The best tune sung goes to the rendition of The Harum Scarum Baron of the Harmonium."
REVIEWED ON 8/27/2013 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ