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Hills of Old Wyoming (1937)

Passed | | Western | 16 April 1937 (USA)
An evil deputy is using Indian half-breeds to rustle cattle. This causes trouble between the cattlemen and Indians. Hoppy, Windy and Lucky see that justice is served. Songs abound.

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(story "The Round-Up"), (dialogue & screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Windy Halliday (as George Hayes)
Morris Ankrum ...
Andrews (as Stephen Morris)
Russell Hayden ...
Gail Sheridan ...
Alice Hutchins
John Beach ...
Rancher Saunders
...
Ma Hutchins
...
Thompson (as Earl Hodgins)
Steve Clemente ...
Henchman Lone Eagle
...
Chief Big Tree (as Chief Big Tree)
George Chesebro ...
Henchman Peterson (as George Chesboro)
Paul Gustine ...
Henchman Daniels
Leo J. McMahon ...
Cowhand Steve (as Leo Mac Mahon)
John Powers ...
Smiley the Cook
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Storyline

In the 10th film of the 66 Hopalong Cassidy movies, Russell Hayden makes his first (of 27 consecutive) appearances as Cassidy's sidekick/protégé "Lucky" Jenkins. The character's actual name in the many Clarence E. Mulford books that featured him was "Mesquite" Jenkins, and Hayden's role was billed in this film as Mesquite "Lucky" Jenkins, and this film was the first and last mention of Mesquite Jenkins. This initial pairing of the trio of William Boyd, Russell Hayden and George Hayes (who only became known as "Gabby" when he wasn't allowed by Paramount to carry his "Windy" moniker to Republic when he departed the Cassidy series, which makes any pre-1939 cast listing showing a credit listing for a George "Gabby" Hayes a misnomer and in error for those who don't care for revisionist film history) is the one that many western-film and/or Cassidy devotees consider the best of all the trio pairings in the series. This one finds the ranchers near a Wyoming Indian reservation suffering heavy... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

ANOTHER HOPALONG CASSISY ADVENTURE THROUGH THE RUGGED RANGES OF THE OLD WEST (original lobby card-all caps)

Genres:

Western

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

16 April 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La vengeance du cow-boy  »

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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Wide Range System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tenth of sixty-six Hopalong Cassidy movies. See more »

Connections

Followed by Hopalong Rides Again (1937) See more »

Soundtracks

Hills of Old Wyoming
Lyrics by Leo Robin
Music by Ralph Rainger
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User Reviews

Hopalong Cassidy western enhanced by Indian actors and scenic locations
28 October 2010 | by (Bronx, NY) – See all my reviews

HILLS OF OLD WYOMING (1937) is a moderately engaging Hopalong Cassidy western about cowboys plagued by rustlers. Most of it was shot on location (at least 90%) on the outskirts of Kernville, CA, a town near the southern end of the Sierra mountain range which provides a majestic backdrop for many shots here. The black-and-white photography is quite sharp and picturesque and was done by Archie Stout, who went on to work for John Ford (FORT APACHE, THE QUIET MAN). I can't say there's a lot of action, but at least there's a lot of movement throughout, as cowboys search for their stolen cattle and track the rustlers to an adjacent Indian reservation where the Deputy Agent gives the cowboys a hard time. The cast is larger than usual for a film of this type and at one point a mass of about 50 riders, consisting of cowboys and Indians working together, gallops across the screen. However, too often in the film men are seen climbing on horses and massing for action and then left hanging as the film blithely cuts to something else. This is particularly baffling during the climax, in which a chase involving dozens of riders is quickly reduced to a one-on-one gunfight in the rocks. Where'd everybody go?

The film's depiction of life on the Indian reservation deserves some comment. While the white characters often treat the Indians brusquely, the fact remains that the Indian characters are all played by real Indians, led by Chief Big Tree (a Seneca Indian who was the model for the Indian head nickel), who speaks both English and his own language. In fact there are scenes where the Indians speak among themselves in their own language, untranslated for the viewers. The one major Indian character besides Big Tree is Lone Eagle, a "half-breed" who's in cahoots with the rustlers and is played by Steve Clemente, who hailed from Mexico (according to IMDb) but could well have been Native American himself. He played Indians in many other westerns, but he's best known for playing the Melanesian witch doctor on Skull Island in KING KONG (1933). As you may recall, he was the one who convinced the native chief (Noble Johnson) that Fay Wray would make a more appropriate sacrifice to Kong than one of the local girls.

Hoppy is a ranch foreman in this one. He makes a dramatic entrance at the 17-minute mark, just in time to prevent his partners, Lucky (Russell Hayden) and Windy (George "Gabby" Hayes), from being arrested. Hoppy's quite a tough guy here and has no qualms about riding onto the reservation and barging into the Indian Agent's office for a confrontation. When he works with Chief Big Tree on a murder investigation, they make highly unlikely use of forensic science, given that this must have been in the late 19th century and neither character involved appears to have had any training in the field. With a 79-minute running time, the film is longer than usual for a B-western and there are times when the action seems to move slower than it ought to and characters don't do what they're supposed to as quickly as they should.

Morris Ankrum, billed as Stephen Morris, plays the corrupt deputy agent-turned-cattle rustler. (This is not a spoiler. He reveals his true colors in the very first scene.) He was in a lot of Hopalong westerns, usually but not always as a bad guy, and was later known for playing generals and scientists in 1950s sci-fi movies (e.g. EARTH VS. THE FLYING SAUCERS). One-time silent star Clara Kimball Young plays Ma Hutchins, who runs the Indian trading post, and Gail Sheridan plays her pretty daughter Alice, who's attracted to Lucky (and he to her). All the scenes involving the actresses were shot in the studio. Earle Hodgins plays Thompson, the unsuspecting Indian Agent whose own men are rustling the cattle. Hodgins looked familiar to me, so I looked him up and learned that he regularly played auctioneers and carnival barkers in a film career that lasted 30 years. I counted over 50 movies of his that I've seen.

The title song was composed by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, Paramount's preeminent songwriting team ("Thanks for the Memories").


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