Radio star Gene Autry returns to his home town of Gold Ridge at the request of his old friend Pop Harrison, who wants Gene to straighten out his wayward son, Tex Harrison, whose gambling and drinking threaten to bankrupt the rodeo organization which he heads. News photographer Clementine "Clem" Benson and reporter Hack Hackett are ordered to follow Gene. The group finds quarters at the "Bar Nothing" dude ranch, winter quarters for Tex's rodeo group, and Tex soon tangles with Hackett in a quarrel. The latter wins a thousand-dollar bag of gold from Sunrise, a miner who has earned his stake digging in the supposedly abandoned mine beneath Gold Ridge. Hackett spots a fugitive Chicago racketeer, Crowley, who is hiding out from the mob he has double-crossed. During a "Frontier Days" celebration, Hackett is killed and the sheriff orders an investigation of all the guns of the performers, who were using blanks, and Tex's gun is found with live ammunition and he is charged with murder because ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not much action this time, but some good music and a mystery
This Gene Autry oater will mainly appeal to his many fans, especially those who are fond of his music. He sings three of his trademark songs, "Be Honest With Me," "Tweedle O Twill," and his theme "Back in the Saddle Again." He also does a fairly good job on the old Carter Family standard "I'm Thinking Tonight of my Blue Eyes," which has the melody used in "The Great Speckled Bird," "Wild Side of Life," and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." The year is 1942 and so Gene does his part for the war effort by singing Irving Berlin's "Any Bonds Today." Gene even takes a jibe at Bing Crosby by adding a line to the old standard "(Oh My Darling)Clementine" about bubbling Bing and will he sue? Gene received assistance in the songwriting department from Fred Rose who later helped start a publishing empire in Nashville and discovered Hank Williams Sr. Also, The inimitable Tex Ritter helped with some of the musical arrangements.
Too bad Frog wasn't given a larger musical role. Smiley was one of the best song smiths around and a top musician, able to play a hundred different musical instruments. Though he does get to sing one song, most of the time he spends trying to keep up with his charge, Tadpole. Often Tadpole upstages Frog. Frog plays an instrument he invented, the craziest musical contraption you'll ever see and it's strapped to the back of a jackass!
There are only two major action sequences in "Home in Wyomin'," but they're both dandies. One involves a wild car chase with Gene and Champion in hot pursuit, the other a wild wagon chase with Gene and Champion in hot pursuit. The stunt work in the latter is spine tingling.
The story is a good one for a B western involving Gene attempting to save a rodeo he sponsors from going broke because of the drinking and gambling habits of its manager and star, Tex Harrison (James Seay), who is the son of Gene's good friend and mentor Pop Harrison (Forrest Taylor). Tex becomes involved with the mob from his gambling. To add to the drama two newspaper correspondents, a pretty photographer Clementine (Fay McKenzie) and her partner "Hack" (Chick Chandler), go west to join the rodeo for a story on Gene, who is a popular radio personality. They wish to debunk him, but the editor wants a story with Gene as a model for America. Hack is murdered in the stands in the middle of a rodeo performance. Tex is framed. Gene and Frog spend the rest of the film clearing Tex and finding the real killer who is not unveiled until the end.
Charles Lane plays the newspaper editor. There's a story about Mark Twain being prematurely listed as deceased. When Twain heard about it, he laughed and stated, "The rumors of my death have been highly exaggerated." Charles Lane was thought dead for several years until he popped up on the TVLand Awards on March 16, 2005, to be honored on his 100th birthday. He told an amazed audience that he was still available.
The fiddle player in "Home in Wyomin'" is the notorious western swing guru Spade Cooley who many years later murdered his wife claiming that she was having an affair with Roy Rogers for whom he had doubled in a few films. Seems he thought Roy was doubling for him in bed.
Two other cast members deserve note. Both were minor cowboy stars themselves at one time. Rex Lease who plays one of the gamblers was somewhat of a star in silent films but never quite made it big time in the sound era. The other is cowboy hero Ken Maynard's brother Kermit Maynard who has a bit part and also is one of the stunt men.
By this time in Gene's film career he not only had a legion of small fries as fans but adults as well, especially women found his movie image appealing. So the producers usually made sure that romance was a part of the show. In "Home in Wyomin'" he has to tame the correspondent Clementine. It takes him a while even after a moonlight interlude when Gene coos about the wind and the rain in her hair. Gene was never a cowboy to ride off alone into the sunset on his trusty steed Champion. He tried to make sure there was a lovely cowgirl riding along side as he sang an appropriate ditty. For Clementine, it's "Tweedle O Twill." Now I ask you is "Tweedle O Twill" really a love ballad? Hey, if it works for Gene....
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