When poisonous devil-weed infects the grazing lands of cattle country, misguided ranchers , including George Larrabee (Robert Homans), burn off every acre of the infected area-the wrong thing to do. The State Agricultural Commission sends inspector Gene Autry (Gene Autry) and his pal Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) to look into the problem but they encounter strong opposition and are even mistaken for bank robbers when they are found in possession of cash from a crashed crop-duster airplane whose pilot, Jerry Willis (Eddie Dean), they were only trying to help. Against all the opposition, Gene eventually persuades the ranchers chemical spraying is the only way to rid the grazing land of the devil-weed while also romancing the rancher's daughter, Sue Larrabee (Fay McKenzie) and saving the cattle from a fiery stampede.Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Better than average Autry programmer. Producers are an often overlooked item in the production crew. However, whoever produced this 60 minutes for Republic (not listed by IMDb) deserves real commendation. There are more thoughtful and expensive touches than usual. The location scenes are excellent with a minimum of process shots. The stampede sequence is central to the action and surprisingly is a real stampede with an actual herd on location. No stock shots, although there are a few shots of Gene against a back projection screen. Also, the aerial shots appear real, without the usual shortcuts. Great location photography of mountains, sky, and clouds-- after all, what else do cowboy movies celebrate but the great American outdoors.
The plot's an interesting mix of old and new. The appeal of the New Deal's federal government is in evidence here. Autry represents the capacity of the feds with their research labs to help the stubbornly independent ranching industry deal with a menace (killer weeds) beyond their usual skills. None of this is meant to take away from the easy-going humor and charm of this Saturday afternoon special that kept me enthralled as a boy and still does as a gray-beard adult.
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