In his starring debut Roy gets elected to congress in order to bring water to the ranchers in his district. In Washington he learns he needs the backing of a key congressman and gets that man to go west for an inspection trip. When the Congressman is initally unimpressed, Roy gets the inspection party stranded without water to show the true conditions. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
The one song that Gene Autry co-wrote for this film was "Listen to the Thythm of the Range" and it WAS credited to him. The song "Dust" was written solely (music and lyrics) by Johnny Marvin, and was never part of any dispute between Autry and Republic. That dispute was over salary and personal appearances by Autry, and was settled out of court when the studio presented Autry with a new contract. See more »
During the 1930s, there was no cowboy more popular than Gene Autry, so it's not surprising that he'd flex his muscles a bit and demand a higher salary. Unfortunately for Gene, he picked the absolute worst time to walk off on his contract---as Republic Pictures then substituted a relative newcomer into his next planned picture, "Under Western Skies". That newcomer was Roy Rogers--and in a few years he'd surpass Autry in popularity. I am pretty sure Gene must have felt pretty foolish after this--especially since "Under Western Stars" turned out to be a very good picture and much better than Gene's usual output!
The film begins with a bunch of ranchers at their wits end. The water company has jacked up the rates after they turned the land into a dessert. Now folks cannot afford to water their cattle and they are, naturally, hopping mad. Roy (along with Smiley Burnett) leads the fight against the water company and eventually they get the idea to run him for Congress. After all, their elected official is clearly in the pocket of the water company. Not surprisingly, Roy wins and goes to Washington to change things. Unfortunately, he learns that change comes slow and now he finds himself in the middle of what could be an all-out war between the ranchers and the water company. Can he manage to fix things AND still get the girl?
The plot to "Under Western Stars" is the best thing going for it. It's unique--and that's something you can't say about many of the B-westerns! On top of that, the music is good and Roy's voice is about equal to Gene's. All around, one of Roy's best efforts as he hits a grand slam the first time up at bat, so to speak.
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