While trailing Forest Ranger Charles Carter (Jason Robards Sr.), who is suspected of permitting lumber man Henry Mitchell (Douglass Dumbrille) to cut restricted timber, Gene fires at a dangerous mountain lion and apparently kills Carter. Actually, Bill Wright (Damian O'Flynn), Mitchell's associate, killed Carter because the ranger had discovered tussock moth infestation in the forest, and if the infestation was not reported, the trees would die and have to be cut, thereby profiting Mitchell and Wright. In order to compensate the best he can, Gene sells his sportsman's camp and gives the money to Carter's daughter Helen (Patricia Barryas Patricia White) . En route to Texas, Gene discovers the infestation and is assigned by the Forest Department to supervise the program of spraying the area with DDT from the air. After the first day of spraying, the DDT is blamed by furious stock men for the many animals found dead of poisoning. Gene suspects a strange plane heard flying in the night ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Another enjoyable Western set in a never-never land
With special effects limited to obvious filming before a projected background, this is an enjoyable Gene Autry vehicle. The songs are not memorable and bump jarringly against the tragic subplot involving Joe. The "West that never was" is as surprising as in the parallel Roy Roger's outings: airplanes and buscadero holsters, fancy Hollywood cowboy gear and references to World war II, a movie Wild West ethic and DDT spraying! By the good guys! Patricia White/Barry is so luminously beautiful that it is surprising her career, while commendable, was not more stellar. It is a treat to see Clayton Moore as a villain, though a bit of a shock to hear the voice of the Lone Ranger coming out of the face of a half-bearded bad guy. Great movie, great Western it is not; pleasant nostalgia it is.
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