Wildcat Kelly has been dead and buried for years. Or has he? Dale is a reporter for an Eastern magazine who comes West to find out the true story of Kelly, of whom Gabby seems to have mysterious knowledge.
Roy, the proprietor of a dude ranch where Gabby is working as a hired hand. Dale is a photojournalist working for "Spread" magazine sent from New York to investigate a long-dead highwayman by the name of "Wildcat" Kelly. After finding out, by snooping around the ranch, that Gabby is in fact "Wildcat" Kelly, she publishes her findings in the magazine and Gabby is shot. Word is put out that Gabby died of the gunshot and a funeral is arranged. During the lying in state, Dale hides near the casket and photographs all the mourners as they pass by the casket. After the ceremony, Gabby reviews all the photos and picks out the man he saw shot him. By means of a description of the kill supplied to the local sheriff the suspected killer is traced to a local nightclub called the Westward Ho. Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers get a job entertaining at the club to try to locate and build a case against the gunman. By having Gabby make an appearance at the club and scaring the gunman into going to ... Written by
Before I get to the review, I noticed that one review was for the severely truncated version of "Don't Fence Me In". That's because during the early days of television, many of Roy Rogers' films were hacked to pieces to make them fit TV time slots. In some cases, it's not that obvious--as they removed mostly the songs. In others, it appears as if the film was edited by Freddy Kruger--just hacked to pieces. Fortunately, the on demand version now on Netflix is the full film and my review is based on this.
Roy's real-life wife, Dale Evans, appeared in something like about 1/4 of his movies. Usually, she's not bad at all and sings a song or two. However, in "Don't Fence Me In", her appearance is far from welcome--mostly because her part is terribly written. She plays a Lois Lane sort of pushy reporter--and she is just plain annoying. It's a shame, as it's an otherwise decent little B-movie.
Long ago, a famous robber, 'Wildcat Kelly' died and his exploits were legendary. However, in a weird twist, it turns out that Gabby Hayes WAS this notorious outlaw but faked his death so that he could live an honest life. Pushy Dale learns this and instead of respecting Gabby's right to remain anonymous, she publishes the story--even after Roy gets her to agree not to. This turns out worse than expected, as someone is now bent on killing Gabby and plugs him. He isn't killed by they pretend he is dead in order to flush out the guy who shot him--by staging a funeral! This is only about halfway through the film and where this takes the audience is just something you'll need to see for yourself. However, be forewarned, Dale is annoying and when there is a big fight sequence, she acts REALLY stupid and sets back women's rights about 6000 years! Uggh, she is awful but the rest of the film is jim-dandy. Overall, I'd give this one a 5--and without Dale, it would earn at least a 7!
By the way, Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers sing "Don't Fence Me In" in this film--which, considering the title, isn't at all surprising!
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