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Riders of the Frontier (1939)

Approved | | Action, Music, Western | 16 August 1939 (USA)
THe Rancho Grande, a Texas border ranch, cut off from the law by a gang of outlaws led by ranch foreman Bart Lane (Jack Rutherford), who is holding the elderly owner of the ranch, Sarah ... See full summary »


(as Spencer Bennet)


(story), (story) | 2 more credits »

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Cast overview:
White Flash ...
Jack Rutherford ...
Bart Lane (as John Rutherford)
Nolan Willis ...
Ed Carter
Merrill McCormick ...
Chappie (Cookie in credits) (as Manten Moreland)
Edward Cecil ...
Doctor Dolson (as Edw. Cecil)
Bruce Mitchell ...
Marshal Bob
Jean Joyce ...
Martha Williams
Sarah Burton
Maxine Leslie ...


THe Rancho Grande, a Texas border ranch, cut off from the law by a gang of outlaws led by ranch foreman Bart Lane (Jack Rutherford), who is holding the elderly owner of the ranch, Sarah Burton (Marin Sais), a prisoner. Tex Lowery (Tex Ritter),an undercover Texas Ranger, rescues Martha Williams (Jean Joyce), a nurse sent for by the ailing Sarah, from a stagecoach holdup by Lane's henchmen. He later convinces Laner that he is a wanted outlaw named Ed Carter, and gains entry to Rancho Grande. But the real Ed Carter (Roy Barcroft)shows up. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

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TEX RITTER...Marsking Himself To Unmask Another to save the cause of law....and love! See more »


Action | Music | Western


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 August 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ridin' the Frontier  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This film received its initial USA telecast Saturday 21 February 1942 on New York City's pioneer television station WNBT (Channel 1). Post WWII television viewers got their first look at it Wednesday 16 November 1949 on WPIX (Channel 11). See more »


Tex fires his pistol to break the lock on the strong box while sitting on his horse. The angle that he fires from would have also sent the bullet into his horse's neck. See more »


Remake of The Cattle Thief (1936) See more »


Ten Thousand Cattle
Sung by Tex Ritter
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User Reviews

Tex Sings a Duet with Mantan Moreland and More!
9 May 2009 | by (San Francisco, California) – See all my reviews

The high points of this film are in the extensive cattle drive campfire scene that Tex Ritter has with Mantan Moreland. In this remake of Jesse Duffy's story for 'The Cattle Thief' (1936) with Ken Maynard, Tex is Tex Lowery, a lawman, posing as Ed Carter, a despicable villain and escaped murderer. He infiltrates the evil foreman Bart Lane's ranch to prove that Lane (Jack Rutherford) is a cattle thief and the killer of ten previous deputies that had been sent there.

Mantan Moreland plays Chappie the cook, and his pairing with Tex Ritter is a magical moment in film history for genre fans. On his return from 'nighthawking' the steers during a cattle drive, Tex settles in at the campfire site with the other drovers. He picks up Chappie's "good lookin' gi-tar," and they begin their immortal scene together. As one villain tells Chappie, "Make his coffee yella!" Tex tells Chappie "Color don't make any difference. Take you for example..." and then begins his speech on the commonality of human nature regardless of skin color, after which Chappie says, "You sure know the human race..." Tex then plays straight man for Moreland, and afterwards launches into 'The Boll Weevil Song' with Moreland himself singing three verses solo and the chorus in duet with Tex Ritter! (In a perfect world, Mantan Moreland should have been Tex's side kick instead of Snub Poland and Horace Murphy.)

Moreland also sings in one of the non-racial buddy films he made with Frankie Darro, 'Let's Go Collegiate' (1941); in another, 'Up in the Air' (1940) he is given a lengthy spot to do a dance solo. He shouldn't just be remembered for the dozen or so 'Charlie Chan' films he appeared in, but also for his hilarious actual star turn in 'King of the Zombies' (1941), in which he has third billing.

As for the rest of the movie, as expected the real Ed Carter finally shows up, and it's nicely evil sounding and looking Roy Barcroft in a brief role. Tex has the sheriff stampede the cattle back to the ranch, as they all engage in a shoot out behind boulders and rocks. Having captured Lane and his chief henchman, Tex turns them over to the sheriff, who says "We've rounded up all that wasn't flat permanent." Tex then enters the ranch house to have Chappie's dinner with the prairie flower, Martha (a small part played by Jean Joyce), the ranch owner and Chappie as the film ends.

Typically standard B western fare, except for the inspired pairing of Tex Ritter and Mantan Moreland. Their campfire scene gets a 10, but the film overall is a 5.

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