Gene returns from the East with new ranch owner Tom Bennett to find everyone's cattle dying. Blaine has reopened the copper mine and the waste is poisoning the water supply. While Gene is away Tom confronts the miners and a men is killed in the ensuing gunfight. Now Gene not only has the dying cattle problem but his ranch owner is in jail. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I saw the expanded 72-minute version, which includes a lot of songs, some of which probably got elided in the 60-minute edition. Anyway, it's a typically good Republic production with Gene. The action picks up in the latter half after a slower first part. The plot is surprisingly topical. A copper mine is dumping chemical wastes into stream water the ranchers use, poisoning the cattle. Gene wants to work out a deal whereby a new, safe disposal method is used. But some baddies have different ideas. On the action side is a big cattle stampede, a well-done barroom brawl, along with the usual hard riding and fast shooting. Frog's got some comedy relief, but also plays a more serious role with guns and fists. Also, Gene's little duet with a teenage Mary Lee is utterly charming. All in all, it's Gene's usual good pre-war mix of action, comedy, and song. Though I can't comment on the edited 60-minute version.
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