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Prairie Moon (1938)

Passed | | Western | 7 October 1938 (USA)
Gene takes care of three tough kids sent west from Chicago after their father died and left them a cattle ranch. They help him catch a bunch of rustlers.


Ralph Staub


Betty Burbridge (original screenplay), Stanley Roberts (original screenplay)




Complete credited cast:
Gene Autry ... Gene Autry
Smiley Burnette ... Frog Millhouse
Shirley Deane ... Peggy Shaw
Tommy Ryan ... William 'Brains' Barton
Walter Tetley Walter Tetley ... Clarence 'Nails' Barton
David Gorcey ... Hector 'Slick' Barton
Stanley Andrews ... Frank Welch
William Pawley ... Jim 'Legs' Barton
Warner Richmond ... Mullins
Ray Bennett ... Hartley (as Raphael Bennett)
Tom London ... Henchman Steve
Bud Osborne ... Henchman Pete
Jack Rockwell ... Sheriff
Peter Potter Peter Potter ... Bandleader


The dying outlaw Barton gets Gene to be the guardian of his three boys. The three troublemakers arrive on the Barton ranch from Chicago where they soon uncover Welsh's smuggling operation located there. So Welsh adopts the boys and boots Autry out. Gene counters by bringing three other boys and getting the Judge to declare them to be the real Bartons. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




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Did You Know?


Film debut (uncredited) of Dan White. See more »


Gene Autry: I'm glad to see you fellas. I'm Gene Autry.
William 'Brains' Barton: So what?
See more »


Featured in Gene Autry: White Hat, Silver Screen (2007) See more »


The Girl in the Middle of My Heart
(1938) (uncredited)
Written by Walter Kent and Eddie Cherkose
Sung by Gene Autry
See more »

User Reviews

Gene versus three mugs from New York.
28 December 2020 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"Prairie Moon" is a most unusual sort of Gene Autry film. While it has the standard bad guys who rustle cattle, it also features a trio of young punks which make this a one of a kind western.

When the story begins, a wanted criminal is killed in a shootout. Gene is there and witnesses his old friend-turned-bad as he dies. With his dying breaths, he asks Gene to be the godfather for his three boys back east. Gene agrees...not realizing these boys are little gangsters at heart!

In many ways, you can see that this film was influenced by earlier films like "Dead End" and the punk kid films were very popular in the late 30s and through the 40s....though I can't say I ever saw one that was a western! Fun and a great change of pace for Autry.

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Release Date:

7 October 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Drei Lümmel in Texas See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(original) | (edited)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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