Poachers are harassing toll road owner Jen Larrabee. They want her land because it holds valuable minerals. Autry and the Cass County Boys, mistaken for Texas Rangers, help out. Written by
Ed Stephan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The matinée western had pretty much migrated to TV by 1953. Certainly, Gene was getting involved with producing series, such as his own show and Range Rider (1951-53). But he still managed to pack six feature-length movies into that year, the last year for his features. This is one of them.
Nothing special here, except a pretty good script that uses a toll road as a crux. Freight haulers in town want to get hold of the road in order to haul without having to pay a toll, and also to mine the isinglass minerals on the land. They're led in secret by an unlikely eye doctor (Rhodes), while Gene is coming to the rescue of the besieged girl (Davis) operating the toll. One notable aspect is a general absence of gunplay, even for the showdown. At the same time, it looks like the feature was shot in the same locale as the Autry TV series, so he likely worked it in between episodes. Also, catch Sheila Ryan as tough girl Lila, who was married at the time to Gene's other sidekick, Pat Buttram.
All in all, I agree with reviewer krorieGene's best movies were his more elaborately produced early ones. Nonetheless, there is that great Old Smoky tune that topped the charts of 1951.
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