The only Gene Autry film where the leading lady, Barbara Britton, is equally billed above the title as the co-star, thereby knocking his horse Champion out of the honors, if one chooses to overlook the 1941 novelty from 20th Century-Fox that had Jane Withers and Gene Autry above the title in that order. This Autry entry has Larry Evans, whose gun had been used to kill rancher Ed Norton in a poker game, escaping a lynching party headed by ranchers Dave Randall and Bill Otis. Norton's friend Gene Autry, investigating on his own, discovers that Larry's gun had been put in the poker pot with the chips, after Larry had lost all of his money, and anyone could have used it when the lights went out. He finds Larry and his sister Mary Evans in a hideaway, and sends Mary back to town and hides Larry in the cabin of miner Jim Hedge. Finding out that Randall and Don Mason have tried to buy the Evans ranch, Gene decides to take a look at it. Hedge shows up and says he can't figure out what could ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Right after Gene throws Mary in the pond, she gets on her horse and starts chasing Gene and her brother. By the time she catches up with them, her hair and clothes are completely dry. See more »
[after tying Gene to a chair, Mary and Larry prepare to flee an approaching posse]
Hey, wait a minute! Get me out of this steer's necktie and I'll help cloud your trail.
Why should we trust you?
Why, Ed's ghost would haunt me if I let them hang the wrong man.
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Not one of Autry's better entries from the post-war period. With
Columbia Pictures' backing, the result should have been better than it
is. Gene is chasing after fugitive Russell Arms to clear him of murder
charges before a vengeful posse can catch up. It's a novel idea for an
Autry Western since almost all the screen time is taken up with the
three parties playing tag with one another. However, the script has
trouble integrating the mystery part into the chase. So we get passages
like Gene and Arms watering their horses with Gene saying to Larry
(Arms) something like "By the way, Larry, where were you standing when
the shots were fired?", and then riding off. Ten minutes later, we get
a similarly disconnected question with a similarly fleeting answer.
It's like trying to follow a bread-crumb trail where the crumbs are a
mile apart. With a different, better integrated, approach the two plot
angles could have really gelled into a single current of suspense and
excitement. I know, some will say this is, after all, only a matinée
Western, so why expect more. But it's also a time when Autry was trying
to break the matinée formula. With a better script, this entry could
have equaled the superiority of contemporaries like Sioux City Sue or
Trail to San Antone.
What Loaded Pistols does have is the sparkling and gorgeous Barbara
Britton, whose smile could light up a city block. Too bad her career
never equaled her talent. Also, the comic relief is down-played and
comes from the nimble Chill Wills instead of the annoying Sterling
Holloway. Then too, I like the way the songs are integrated into menial
tasks, such as fixing breakfast, instead of the usual, more elaborate
production numbers. I know many Autry fans object to anything negative
about his movies. Nonetheless, I don't think Columbia Studios served
him as well here as they did in other productions.
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