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Prairie Moon (1938)

Passed  -  Western  -  7 October 1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 47 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 2 critic

Gene takes care of three tough kids sent west from Chicago after their father died and left them a cattle ranch. They help him catch a bunch of rustlers.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay)
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Title: Prairie Moon (1938)

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Complete credited cast:
Smiley Burnette ...
Shirley Deane ...
Peggy Shaw
Tommy Ryan ...
William Brains Barton
Walter Tetley ...
Clarence Nails Barton
David Gorcey ...
Hector Slick Barton
Stanley Andrews ...
Frank Welch
William Pawley ...
Jim Legs Barton
Warner Richmond ...
Lead Henchman Mullins
Ray Bennett ...
Henchman Hartley (as Raphael Bennett)
Tom London ...
Henchman Steve
Bud Osborne ...
Henchman Pete
Jack Rockwell ...
Peter Potter ...


The dying outlaw Barton gets Gene to be the guardian of his three boys. The three troublemakers arrive on the Barton ranch from Chicago where they soon uncover Welsh's smuggling operation located there. So Welsh adopts the boys and boots Autry out. Gene counters by bringing three other boys and getting the Judge to declare them to be the real Bartons. Written by Maurice VanAuken <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Release Date:

7 October 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prairie Moon  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(original) | (edited)

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gene Autry: I'm glad to see you fellas. I'm Gene Autry.
William 'Brains' Barton: So what?
See more »


Featured in Gene Autry: White Hat, Silver Screen (2007) See more »


The West, a Nest, and You
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Billy Hill
Lyrics by Larry Yoell
Performed by Gene Autry at the barn dance (guitar and vocal), with the attendees joining in
Reprised by Gene Autry, Smiley Burnette, Shirley Deane, Tommy Ryan,
Walter Tetley, and David Gorcey at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

"Education is a wonderful thing."
20 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is probably about as close as you'll get to see Gene Autry meet the Bowery Boys. It has that feel as Gene brings three troubled street kids from Chicago out to Big Rock and the Barton Ranch. One of the wise guys is portrayed by Leo Gorcey's younger brother David, who had quite a few appearances in the series of films that started with the Dead End Kids. The trio here get involved with a gang of cattle rustlers headed by Frank Welch (Stanley Andrews), but in the end are saved by the intervention of Gene and partner Smiley Burnette. Most of the story is standard stuff for an Autry oater, except for the bit about his willingness to legally adopt the three teens.

Gene and Smiley Burnette share singing duties in the story, with quite a few tunes scattered throughout. Appropriate for the topic, Frog Millhouse (Smiley) offers a rendition of 'In the Jailhouse Now', and later chimes in with the musical story of 'Trigger Joe'. One of the Barton Boys probably had it right when he stated "That's what killed vaudeville".

For an Autry picture I was surprised to hear an off handed Lone Ranger reference when Brains Barton (Tommy Ryan) reacted to Frog by exclaiming 'Hi yo Silver'. Besides that, the other head scratcher had to do with the idea that Jim Barton asked Gene to bring his boys out West. Who then was watching them in Chicago?

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