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King of the Cowboys
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Reviews & Ratings for
King of the Cowboys More at IMDbPro »

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Good Roy western

Author: state40 from Garland, Texas
14 July 2000

If you like Roy, you will like this movie.It has a good story line about sabotage and Roy's under cover work to capture the saboteurs.Roy also sings some songs.Smiley Burnett does his usual fine act as a funny sidekick.I was surprised to see Gerald Mohr as a "BAD GUY" in a western.The movies and T.V.I have seen him in he usually plays a sophisticated type of character.If you don't blink your eyes,you will see Eddie Dean as a policeman who has been tied up in his patrol car.

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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

"Roy, you're dead. As long as you stay dead you won't get killed."

Author: classicsoncall from United States
18 February 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It's only appropriate that the King of the Cowboys would appear in a movie of the same name. Roy Rogers was always my favorite Western hero, and he appears here as an undercover agent for Texas Governor Shuville (Russell Hicks), investigating sabotage in the territory. The story itself however, turns out to be rather ordinary, as Roy and his crew of Pioneers bring the bad guys to justice.

Roy's sidekick here is Smiley Burnette, in one of his few outings where he doesn't go by his own name. His character is Frog Millhouse in deference to the particular guttural sound he can produce at will; fortunately it's not overdone. We're still a few pictures away from Dale Evans' first appearance with Roy (1944, Cowboy and the Senorita), so the female lead falls to Peggy Moran, a performer with the Merry Makers Carnival and Tent Show. "Following Merry" is the only clue Roy has, so when he hooks up with the traveling show as a singer, he hopes to uncover the plot.

As with most of Roys' films, there are a host of songs performed by the cowboy crooner, including the opener - "Ride 'Em Cowboy". They're followed up by "I'm An Old Cowhand", "A Gay Ranchero" and "Roll Along Prairie Moon". All of them conjure up memories of a youth spent viewing hours of Western thrills following Roy, Gene, Hoppy and plenty of other stars getting the drop on the bad guys. So when you hear Bruce Willis mutter Yippie Ki Yay in "Die Hard", it just doesn't ring the same.

I always get a kick out of the perspective offered in these old films. How excited is the café cook when he sees the prospect of two paying customers at thirty five cents each! I know I haven't seen it in a movie before, but what's with the giant mirror in the road trick?

Of course in the end, Roy races to the rescue aboard Trigger to save the day, defusing a bomb and saving a railroad train from destruction. The Sons of the Pioneers round up the baddies, and the Governor proclaims Roy "King of the Cowboys" for his heroic assistance. It should be so easy in real life, but this was a simpler time when the guys in white hats always won. Yippee I-O-Ki-Yay!

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Treason In Texas

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
18 June 2008

Roy apparently earns his title as King of the Cowboys by helping out Governor Russell Hicks of Texas track down a nest of Nazi saboteurs who are wreaking havoc across the Lone Star State. Did Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson know about this?

Herbert J. Yates put the best creative minds at Republic Pictures to work on this and they came up with a script that's a combination of The Thirty Nine Steps and This Is My Affair. Like the Robert Taylor MGM classic where he's a secret agent working directly and reporting to President McKinley because McKinley like Governor Hicks can't seem to trust anyone in his official capacity. And like The Thirty Nine Steps the key is Gerald Mohr with a carnival memory act. If you're going to borrow at least Yates felt you should borrow from the best. You can't do too much better than Alfred Hitchcock.

Roy gets a nice group of songs and I particularly liked the fact that he gets to sing I'm An Old Cowhand which in fact he had a hand in introducing seven years earlier. When Roy was just one of the Sons of the Pioneers who also appear in King of the Cowboys he backed Bing Crosby when he introduced the Johnny Mercer classic in Rhythm on the Range. Now Roy's a star and does a nice solo turn accompanying himself on the guitar.

While Republic's other big singing cowboy Gene Autry was off to war, Roy inherited for a while, Smiley Burnette who does his usual comedy bit.

Sadly though the film that gives Roy the title he was forever known by is a badly dated war propaganda flick that simply doesn't wear well or age well. The King had been better served by his subjects at Republic before and after this film. They'd also done worse by him as well.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Roy Rogers Is The Cowboy King

Author: Dalbert Pringle from New Zealand
1 July 2013


This is probably one of the best of the Roy Rogers Westerns from the 1940s.

By 1942 Roy Rogers' popularity as a "Singing Cowboy" had increased by leaps and bounds. With Gene Autry out of the picture and away on the war-effort in Europe, Republic Studios replaced him with Rogers.

Known as "Poverty Row", Republic took a big chance and doubled their usual skimpy budget on this picture. It was a gamble that paid off handsomely and made Roy Rogers a house-hold name and idol to Western movie fans everywhere.

In King Of The Cowboys, Roy Rogers sings a little, fights a little, and even loves a little. (well, sort of)

Rogers plays a government agent working undercover as a rodeo performer trying to infiltrate a ring of saboteurs. These bomb-crazy scoundrels are a ruthless bunch led by a phony-baloney carnival mind-reader.

All around the state of Arizona these villains are bombing warehouses, left, right, and center. It's now up to Roy Rogers to put a stop to their dastardly deeds.

Can Roy stop these nasty-minded criminals before another crime is committed? Watch and find out why Roy Rogers is called King Of The Cowboys!

And, Happy trails to you.....

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Roy Rogers Thwarts Axis Saboteurs!!!

Author: zardoz-13 from United States
9 September 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Roy Rogers tangles with Axis sympathizers in director Joseph Kane's "King of the Cowboys," a contemporary Republic Pictures western set during World War II. You won't find any Fifth Columnists wielding firearms, but the American traitors mean business. Roy sings "I'm an Old Cowhand," "Ride, Ranger, Ride," "Red River Valley," and "Roll Along Prairie Moon." Basically, "King of the Cowboys" is an espionage western. Roy has several interesting scenes, including his escape from a warehouse set to blow up. One of the Sons of the Pioneers is none other than Pat Brady who utters a line of dialogue that I always thought was first used in the 1982 movie "Conan the Barbarian": "What's the matter with you? Do you want to live forever?" Most of the physical action involves the kind of derring-do that was the bread and butter of Republic's serials. Smiley Burnette plays Roy's sidekick Frog Millhouse and serves as comic relief. One of the gimmicks the villains deploy to wreck the car that the good guys are riding in predates the gimmick that the villains used against James Bond when he infiltrated Goldfinger's headquarters.

A sabotage ring is raising havoc in Texas, and the dastards are destroying warehouses. Texas Governor Shuville (Russell Hicks of "Captain America") wants to see Roy and Frog Millhouse about an incident that occurred when they pursued the Wilson gang to Arkansas. They confronted the outlaws in a saloon that straddled the border between Arkansas and Texas. One of them is Duke Wilson (Stuart Hamblen) who robbed the rodeo where Roy worked. Predictably, the Arkansas sheriff (Herbert Heyes of "New York Confidential") isn't happy about Roy's decision and lodges a formal complaint with Governor Shuville. "Rogers," Shuville observes, "I like the way you work. I like your nerve. I can use a fast-thinking man like you. In fact, I need you for an assignment." The Governor wants Roy to infiltrate a group that has exposed all his operatives. He wants Roy because "the fellows after you wouldn't mistake you for anything but a cowboy." The Governor explains, "There is a wave of sabotage sweeping through this territory with the precision of a well-organized gang. All my efforts to apprehend them have failed." The Governor warns Roy that his predecessor died making his report by telephone. The only available clues are the words: "following Mary." Roy volunteers to work for the Governor. The chief executive asks Roy to memorize a secret phone number. This will be the only way they will communicate until they close the case. The Governor is the only man who knows about Roy's mission. What the Governor has no way of knowing is that his personal secretary, William Kraley (Lloyd Corrigan of "Son of Paleface"), is the leader of the saboteurs. Kraley warns his henchmen to be on the look-out for Roy Rogers.

Later, while Roy is singing and strumming his guitar in the back of a cafe, two actresses from The Merry Makers Carnival and Tent Show enter and order lunch. Roy serves them coffee, and they converse. "Every town we play has an explosion or a fire," Judy Mason (Peggy Moran of "Horror Island") points out. Roy explains he is looking for a job, and Judy agrees to notify her stepbrother Dave (James Bush of "Massacre River") about Roy needing employment. The comments about the explosions arouse Roy's suspicions after the Ruby uses the words "following Mary." He visits the carnival in the town of Rawhide with Frog. Roy decides to join the carnival to learn first-hand what is really happening. The carnival features a mind-reading act with Maurice the Mental Marvel. The act is rather sophisticated. A cowgirl with a microphone in her ring which is she calls 'the mystic stone" asks the audience to address their problems to the stone. Actually, the stone serves as a microphone. A man behind the stage with a receiving set relays the information to a man in a turban and a robe. Roy and Frog disrupt Maurice's show and their commotion compels Mason to give Roy a chance to sing. Roy has a run-in with Maurice and they tie him up and leave him in a warehouse about to be blown to smithereens. Afterward, Roy contacts Shuville, and the Governor and his men ride into a trap. They think that they are about to collide head on with another car when in fact all that is happening is they are driving toward a huge mirror. This is rather ingenious. The Governor's car tumbles down the side of a mountain.

Meantime, Roy suspects that they have trapped the saboteur when Frog and he take over the mind-reading act. Maurice catches Roy using the receiver. When he is about to shoot Roy, Mason threatens to expose them all. Instead of Roy, Maurice shoots Dave in the back. Maurice frames Roy for Dave's murder. During his stay is in jail, Roy learns that the Governor isn't expected to survive the car crash. He summons Frog, who appears in a disguise masquerading as Roy's grandfather, and tells him to tell Judy about Maurice's treachery. Judy and Ruby arrange for Roy to escape from jail and returns to the carnival. Kraley passes along information during the Maurice act. Maurice tries to intervene, and Roy guns down Kraley. Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers hightail it on horseback to prevent the saboteurs from dynamiting a metal bridge that a train will cross. Roy climbs the bridge and defuses the dynamite. While he is climbing on the bridge, Maurice's henchmen keep him busy dodging their lead and firing back at them.

"King of the Cowboys" is a predictable but entertaining, lightweight espionage western that is easy to follow. Director Joe Kane keeps the action constantly moving headlong so this B-movie doesn't wear out its welcome during its 56-minute running length.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

One of Rogers' Best

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
17 May 2012

King of the Cowboys (1943)

*** (out of 4)

Once America entered WWII Hollywood starting throwing everything into a variety of war pictures. The biggest stars were cast in war movies and even fictional characters like Boston Blackie and Sherlock Holmes were placed into war pictures. Roy Rogers had the same fate and this thriller turned out to be one of his best pictures. Rogers is hired by the government to go undercover and try to locate some saboteurs who are blowing up warehouses throughout America. He finally tracks down the bad guy and must get involved in his fair to try and put a stop to him. The title pretty much tells you where Rogers was at during this portion of his career and seeing a cowboy in a WWII film might make you think it wouldn't work but the end result is very effective. Yes, the film still has that low-budget feel but for the most part the film contained a nice story, some fine performances and some great action. In regards to the action I'd say this probably contains more than any other film I've seen from the legend. We get a really exciting fight sequence where Rogers is in the back of a car when two men jump him. There's also an excellent sequence towards the end that I won't ruin but the gunfight is a lot of fun. There's also some fine laughs with a fake clairvoyant. As you'd expect, Rogers has no problem playing the good guy and the American, flag-waving is something is does with ease. The supporting cast includes Smiley Burnette adding great comic relief and Peggy Moran is good as the love interest. KING OF THE COWBOYS is a film that I think even those who hate "B" Westerns would enjoy. There's certainly a lot going on and yes there's some nice songs too.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Smashing the Saboteurs

Author: wes-connors from Earth
6 September 2007

Roy Rogers (as Roy), Smiley Burnette (as Frog), and the "Sons of the Pioneers" go undercover to help Texas Governor Russell Hicks stop World War II Axis sympathizers from blowing up U.S. warehouses. Not a war story, but a Roy Rogers western: this one a "Variety Show" of stunts, songs, and Smiley bits … plus, a sign proclaiming: "Freedom of Speech Doesn't Mean Careless Talk".

"King of the Cowboys" songs include: "I'm an Old Cow Hand", "The Gay Ranchero", "Prairie Moon", and others. Stunts include setting up a giant mirror on a road to simulate a head-on car crash; and, following another car crash, Rogers being tied up and left in a warehouse rigged to blow. The story is inconsequential. Following the stunted end, Rogers is introduced as "King of the Cowboys" and sings "Ride Ranger Ride". Formulaic to the hilt!

** King of the Cowboys (1943) Joseph Kane ~ Roy Rogers, Smiley Burnette, Peggy Moran

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A Singing Cowboy

Author: Uriah43 from Amarillo, Texas
30 July 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Roy Rogers is a cowboy working for a rodeo who is asked by the Governor of Texas to help him track down a band of saboteurs operating in the United States during World War 2. In order to do that he has to quit his job and go undercover as a singing cowboy at a carnival. What he doesn't know is that these saboteurs have an elaborate system and a spy in a very high capacity who quickly become suspicious of anybody who ventures too close to their operation. Anyway, rather than reveal any more of the film and risk spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, I will just say that while I don't especially care for "singing cowboy" movies this one wasn't too bad. Although it's filmed in black and white and lasts only 67 minutes, it still has some decent action which keeps the film moving along. Not only that, but the songs aren't too bad either. In any case, I rate this movie as about average and recommend it to those who enjoy movies of this type and produced during this era.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

King of the cowboys?!

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
25 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I would have to say that of all the Roy Rogers films I have seen, this has got to be the worst. The plot makes little sense, the writing is very, very poor and it's bizarre they'd call this film "King of the Cowboys" considering it really has nothing to do with cowboys!

The film begins with the Governor asking Roy to go undercover. This is a VERY familiar role for Rogers--he'd done this in tons of his other films. But, because the film is like a long talent show, Roy infiltrates a traveling show. This show somehow holds the key as Rogers figures out that they are transmitting secret codes. So, it's up to him, Smiley Burnett, the Sons of the Pioneers AND Dale Evans to sort all this out and save America. So what does this have to do with cowboys? Well, folks wear cowboy clothes--but that's really about it!

As I said above, the writing it pretty bad for this one. Now seeing Rogers playing a character in modern times is not at all unusual, but the pitiful writing is. Here are a few examples how bad it got:

In the psychic show, audience members are told to 'talk into the magic ring'. It's obvious to anyone that it's a microphone and I can't see how anyone but the dumbest folks on the planet would see this as magical or even interesting. Sadly, it's a VERY important part of the film.

When the baddest of the baddies (Gerald Mohr) is about to shoot Rogers (who is unconscious), the wimpy baddie says "I'm going to turn myself in--I'll talk and take what's coming to me!". Who would say that as their partner is standing there with a gun about to shoot someone?! Is it any surprise that only seconds later this wimpy guy is killed?! Duh--can anyone be THAT dumb?!

To help break Roy out of prison, his friends get the jailer to put a handkerchief over his head and leave the key to the cell sitting on the table in front of him while they show him a magic trick! Is anyone THAT dumb? Can anyone be that dumb?!

Late in the film, Roy and his lady friend discover who the boss-man is of the baddies and they 'forget' and accidentally leave the loud speaker on so the baddies can hear that they've made this discovery!! Again, can anyone be that dumb?

You must have noticed that again and again, the film relies on EVERYONE being 100% stupid. And, now that I think about it, they also rely on the audience being that stupid as well! Well, I might not be Einstein, but I am not THAT stupid--I give this one a well-deserved 2.

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