Finding Indians stealing from his ranch, Gene learns they are suffering from malnutrition. Store owner Martin is cheating them and now he is after the Chief's valuable necklace. When the dying chief is found, having been attacked and robbed, Martin blames Lakhona who would become the new chief. When Gene helps Lakhona they soon find themselves fleeing from the law. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
Although The Cowboy And The Indians is not the usual run of Gene Autry B western, it's still a good film. And if the Autry name bought in the kiddie trade, good because showed a film that has a fine and sensitive portrayal of the American Indian in modern times.
The film has Gene buying a ranch, but having a lot of problems because the neighboring Indians from a reservation are grazing their own herds their and occasionally stealing some of his. But there's a real good reason for that. They're kept in near starvation because of a real sleazeball running the reservation trading post. Frank Richards is one of the scurviest villains that Gene ever had in one of his westerns. When Dr. Sheila Ryan diagnoses a case of malnutrition for an old Indian woman that Gene brings in, Gene has a bad attack of social conscience.
The Cowboy and The Indians also features both Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore, the future Tonto and The Lone Ranger, on opposite sides, Silverheels as Crown Prince of his tribe for want of a better term and Moore as one of Richards's henchmen. They'd be teaming on The Lone Ranger Show on TV for the first time in 1949 the same year this film came out.
The film ends slightly early so that an appendage of sorts is attached with Gene singing his hit Here Comes Santa Claus and the choir of Indian children from the reservation doing Silent Night. It must have been an after thought at Columbia Pictures in the way it's tacked on to the film, but still nice.
Definitely one of the best of Gene Autry's post World War II films.
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