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Dude Ranch (1931)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Western  |  16 May 1931 (USA)
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Chester Carr, owner of a dude ranch in the Rockies, caters to guests seeking the thrill of the Wild West. Among his guests are the wealthy Spruce Meadows and his daughter Susan. But the ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Jack Oakie ...
Jennifer / Vance Kilroy
Chester Carr
Judd / Black Jed
Alice Merridew
Susan Meadows
Charles Sellon ...
Spruce Meadows
Cecil Weston ...
Mrs. Merridew
George Webb ...
Guy Oliver ...
James Crane ...
Blaze Denton


Chester Carr, owner of a dude ranch in the Rockies, caters to guests seeking the thrill of the Wild West. Among his guests are the wealthy Spruce Meadows and his daughter Susan. But the West isn't wild anymore and most of Carr's guests are bored and about to leave. He is in despair when a caravan carrying a broke-down-and-out troupe of actors---Jennifer, Judd, Mrs. Merridew and her daughter, Alice---crashes down the hill and wrecks the hotel sign. Carr offers to board and lodge them free for a week if they can provide enough excitement to keep Meadows and the other guest from leaving. The actors agree. They have the properties and costumes for a Western melodrama,"Vance Kilroy's Revenge", which they proceed to adapt real-life for the occasion. That evening a woman (Mrs. Merridew) rushes into the hotel lounge with her little daughter (Alice), begging to be saved from the whip of her brutal husband Black Jud (Judd). He comes after them with a whip but the heroic Vance Kilroy (Jenifer) ... Written by Les Adams <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hotel | whip | sheriff | gang | bank | See All (44) »


"Quite the funniest and brainiest satire of American cowboy Wild West stuff I have ever seen" (London Sunday Times Critic - Original UK poster)


Comedy | Western






Release Date:

16 May 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Round-Up  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Jazz standard "Out of Nowhere" by Edward Heymen and Johnny Green was introduced in this film. See more »


Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Leo Robin
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User Reviews

the luminous beauty of June Collyer
6 May 2009 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

With the success of George Gershwins' "Girl Crazy", dude ranches were suddenly popular. They were ranches where city slickers and college boys were sent by their fathers, to toughen them up. "Dude Ranch" was a Paramount comedy which starred Stuart Erwin as Chester Carr, a manager of a dude ranch in the Rockies that is falling on hard times. Guests are leaving because it is too tame. When a traveling troupe of ham actors arrive, having fallen on hard times, Carr hatches a plan (in exchange for food and lodging) for the troupe to rustle up some thrills and excitement so that irritated guest, Spruce Meadows (Charles Sellon) will be entertained enough to stay on.

The troupe put on an old fashioned melodrama, complete with a dastardly villain, Black Jeb (Eugene Palette), hero Mr. Kilroy (Jack Oakie) and defenseless child (Mitzi Green). Their play is instantly believed and Kilroy is praised as a hero - he later spies Sue Meadows (the lovely June Collyer) and is completely smitten. Meanwhile a group of robbers pay the dude ranch a visit and the leader also falls for Sue. The troupe stage a mock fight and when the gangster leader draws a gun on Kilroy, and Kilroy stands up to him, Sue realises Kilroy is the man for her.

The gangsters hold up the local bank but when people offer up descriptions, it also fits Kilroy (white ten gallon hat, white chaps etc)!!! When Alice (Mitzi Green) is told to get the make up case from the barn she accidentally picks up the wrong case - it is the one with cash that the robbers have stored there. When the sheriff arrests Kilroy the robbers kidnap Sue and it is up to Alice to round up the troupe and save the day. Kilroy, who has been branded a coward gets to show all his wild west skills as he captures the caravan and saves the girl.

One extraordinary thing is that "Out of Nowhere" became an instant hit and is now a standard. Bing Crosby recorded it and also sang it in "Confessions of a Co-ed" released the same year (1931). "Dude Ranch" was the film that introduced it, along with "Consolation" but both were only used as background music while guests danced.

Mitzi Green, who excelled in "bratty" type children's roles was excellent here as Alice the "hammy" child actor. She made 11 films for Paramount and they certainly knew how to display her talents. The female lead was the beautiful June Collyer, who found her own romantic fairy tale in this film when she met Stuart Erwin. They were married soon after and had one of the happiest and most long lasting marriages in Hollywood.

Highly Recommended.

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