When the Texas rangers are disbanded, outlaws move in. Ex-Ranger Roy joins the Cavalry but deserts when the Calvalry is unable to stop the outlaws and his brother is killed. Ex-Senator Harvey has organized the State Patrol and Roy soon learns it's a protection racket with those not joining burned out or murdered. Written by
Maurice VanAuken <email@example.com>
Texas has just become a state after a decade as the Lone Star Republic. The United States Cavalry is sent to replace the famed Texas Rangers. Roy and the other Rangers, including his brother, Ken (Lane Chandler), and sidekick, Jeff (Raymond Hatton), receive the news to disband and go home. Instead, Roy and Jeff join the cavalry commanded by Colonel Forbes (J. Farrell MacDonald) who just happens to have a beautiful daughter, Janice (Lynne Roberts, aka Mary Hart), who captures Roy's heart. She falls for him and romance blooms.
As predicted by Roy and the Rangers, once disbanded the outlaws move in to take over, this time assuming the role of peace keepers for a price. Organized by an ex-Senator (Purnell Pratt), the so-called peace keepers, or State Patrol, are led by a notorious Missouri hooligan, Morgan Burke (Harry Wood). Those that won't pay for protection are terrorized, intimidated, and often murdered. When Roy's brother refuses to pay and resists, he is killed. When Roy learns of his brother's fate, he goes AWOL to set things straight.
This is an early Roy Rogers film with more action and fewer songs than later when some of his movies were not dissimilar to the Hollywood musicals of the day. Nineteen thirty eight was the year Roy changed his stage name from Dick Weston to Roy Rogers and became a cowboy star. He had used other monikers earlier, including his birth name of Leonard Slye when singing with the Sons of the Pioneers. Roy and wife, Dale Evans, had a show on the Nashville Channel in the 80's where they would reminisce about the old days and show a few of their movies. Roy said he came up with his name because he liked the sound of "Roy" and one of his heroes was Will Rogers. So that is where "Rogers" originated.
Roy was a much better singer than Gene Autry, who was the number one cowboy at the time. Gene was a better songwriter and arranger. Roy was the best of the singing cowboys other than Tex Ritter, who had a wider voice range and a more authentic western sound. Roy did some song writing but Dale was one of the best songwriters around, although she mainly composed songs of a religious nature. In "Come On, Rangers," Roy sings three songs including the Civil War ballad, "Tenting Tonight." The Sons of the Pioneers are missing. Otherwise, the music is worthwhile.
One problem is the movie's time-line. The Texas Rangers didn't exist in Texas until after the Civil War. The feel and look of "Come On, Rangers" is post-Civil War, including the music. The story would have been better served if no mention had been made at the first concerning Texas statehood. If the viewer ignores that historical discrepancy, then the rest makes sense.
Gabby Hayes was not yet Roy's sidekick and he is sorely missed. Raymond Hatton was a top-notch actor for B westerns, but his comedy often seemed forced. In "Come On, Rangers," Hatton really has to stretch for laughs.
"Come On, Rangers" is a must for Roy's many fans. Others who like the genre should enjoy this action-packed oater which shows The King of the Cowboys in the early days of his movie stardom.
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