|Index||5 reviews in total|
Plenty of amusement in this Roy Rogers movie as the folks borrow the
plot of DESTRY RIDES AGAIN. Roy's father and grandfather were both
old-fashioned, famous western sheriffs. Gabby Hayes fetches him out to
deal with cattle rustlers.... but the FGI after his name is not the
Federal Gureau of Investigation, but Fellow of the Geographical
As usual in these movies, a lot of care is taken for some lovely cinematography, although there are some obvious day-for-night shot given away by the shadows. The Sons of the Pioneers, as you might expect, show up to sing a few songs, and this high-class B Western is sure to please fans of the genre.
'Sons of the Pioneers' is not actually about the Sons of the Pioneers,
more's the pity; the title is more in the nature of a hat-tip with a
very loose connection to the plot: Roy is the son and grandson of
famous lawmen after which his hometown was named. The Pioneers are on
hand, of course, but if you blink in the wrong places you might have a
hard time spotting them - it's Roy's movie all the way.
When lady rancher Louise Harper (Maris Wrixon) demands a new sheriff to replace George 'Gabby Hayes,' who hasn't been able to catch the night-riders burning down local ranchers' barns, Gabby gets the inspiration to bring Roy out from the East where he grew up to follow in his ancestors' footsteps. Roy decides to play on the townspeople's perception of him as a cowardly tenderfoot in order to lull the villains' suspicions while he investigates surreptitiously and "scientifically." He's helped and hindered by Gabby and his deputy Pat Brady, who provide loads of comic relief, notably Gabby's juggling bottles of nitroglycerin and a very funny scene in which they believe they've seen a ghost. Bradley Page is the villain who spends most of his time chewing out henchmen Hal Taliaferro, Tom London and Jack O'Shea for muffing repeated attempts to put Roy out of commission. Bob Nolan, the only Pioneer besides Brady to get some decent screen time, has few lines but is on hand in the understated part of Louise's faithful ranch foreman. Maris Wrixon, whose character doesn't really fit into the traditional love-interest pattern, makes a lovely and spirited heroine and you wish she actually had more scenes.
Maybe she did. Unfortunately this is one of the handful of Roy's movies whose original full-length print has gone missing. At least two songs were cut (you can easily spot where the number "Come And Get It" was excised from the opening scene) and probably some more footage - I once saw the original trailer which included a scene of Roy making a speech during the sheriff's election campaign. The remaining songs, of course, are naturally excellent. It's a fun film with an interesting premise and characters, some good action scenes and plenty of comedy.
With a little bit borrowed from Destry Rides Again, Roy Rogers gets the
job as sheriff in his hometown of Rogers City where there's been a lot
of rustling and even epidemics of hoof and mouth disease that are
driving the local ranchers to get out. Gabby Hayes and Pat Brady go
east to bring Roy back to the place where both his father and
grandfather were sheriffs before and which place is also named after
Needless to say that they're a bit disappointed that Roy is happy and content as a research chemist. But as it turns out those skills are exactly what's needed to get the evidence and then get the villains. Not that Roy eschews riding and shooting by any means.
Maris Wrixson who usually plays sophisticated women or gangsters molls was an unusual choice for a leading lady for Roy. Still she acquits herself well.
But I might have rated this one a bit higher if wasn't for one of the most colossal pieces of stupidity ever shone on screen. While the bad guys have Roy, Gabby, and Pat at bay, what does Gabby do but start practicing his juggling act with bottles of nitroglycerin. Damn near blows them all up. In fact Gabby also at one point tips Roy's hand to the bad guys with his big stupid mouth. Gabby is usually amusing, but never downright stupid as he is in Sons Of The Pioneers.
And speaking of them Bob Nolan and the group are here lending support to their former member. Though the group really has nothing to do with the title of the film and the title gives you no information as to the story, the film is still a good Roy Rogers film even Gabby's idiocy.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When I was a kid growing up in a small Louisiana town we normally
walked into town on Saturday afternoons to see western movies. Gene
Autry, Roy Rogers, Lash Larue. A kid doesn't have much concept of
passing time and I had no recollection that these were 50 to 60 minute
movies. Now, through the magic of the internet and Netflix streaming
video, we can re-watch some of these old classics.
Roy Rogers plays, go ahead and guess it ... Roy Rogers. He is a mild-mannered scientist back East but knows he will some day go back west, to Rogersville where his father, grandfather, and grandfather are fondly remembered. All he needs is an excuse. That excuse comes when his old friend Gabby travels to encourage Roy to come back and run for sheriff. It seems some nighttime bandits are burning down barns and making livestock sick, and they need help.
The actual story isn't that important, it is how Roy returns and plays dumb so that he has time to figure out who the bad guys are. We have several horseback chases, a couple of shoot-outs, and in the end the bad guys get put in their place.
Then there are the 5 or 6 songs scattered through the movie. All in all a pleasant visit back to a B&W movie of my younger days.
Roy Rogers is summoned by Sheriff "Gabby" Hayes to save a modern day
town from a gang of cattle-poisoning arsonists. Gabby believes Mr.
Rogers, if elected Sheriff, will follow in the footsteps of his Roy
Rogers namesakes (including his father and grandfather). However,
Rogers seems meek and mild; though a popular man, townspeople wonder if
he is up to the job.
This is an interesting Rogers vehicle in that the character is presented as a hero perhaps not up to the task at hand; no points for guessing how he does, finally! There is the expected "shootout" to end the film, but it really peaks earlier as Rogers' car is stolen; he gets the car back in fine form. Rogers sings with Gabby, with Bob Nolan and the "Sons of the Pioneers", and with some unfortunately intrusive dialog.
**** Sons of the Pioneers (1942) Joseph Kane ~ Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Maris Wrixon
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