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Call of the Rockies (1944)

Sunset Carson's first western and, despite the misleading video box that indicates otherwise, he was billed as Sonny Carson and was billed 2nd behind Smiley Burnette. Republic dropped the "... See full summary »


Lesley Selander


Robert Creighton Williams (original screenplay) (as Bob Williams)

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Complete credited cast:
Smiley Burnette ... Frog Millhouse
Sunset Carson ... Sunset Carson (as Sonny "Sunset" Carson)
Harry Woods ... J. B. Murdock
Kirk Alyn ... Ned Crane
Ellen Hall ... Marjorie Malloy
Frank Jaquet ... Doc Lee
Charles Williams Charles Williams ... Burton Witherspoon
Jack Kirk ... Sheriff
Tom London ... Henchman Hansen
Bob Kortman ... Henchman Watson (as Robert Kortman)
Edmund Cobb ... Workman


Sunset Carson's first western and, despite the misleading video box that indicates otherwise, he was billed as Sonny Carson and was billed 2nd behind Smiley Burnette. Republic dropped the "Sonny" but he was also billed beneath Burnette in three more films---Bordertown Trail, Code of the Prairie and Firebrands of Arizona---released between July and December of 1944, when Burnette and Republic parted company and Carson was given his own series that featured no continuing sidekick actor. Burnette was off the screen from that point until February of 1946 when he made the first of his co-starring Durango Kid films with Charles Starrett. This film finds Sunset Carson (Sunset Carson) meeting and teaming up with Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) who is driving supplies in to Placer City for wealthy mining-equipment man J. B. Murdock (Harry Woods). Through a runaway horse ruse, the supplies are hi-jacked by Marjorie Malloy (Ellen Hall and her companion Ned Crane (Kirk Alyn'). Murdock has ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


LUSTY ACTION and ROARIN' LAUGHS...with your favorite western wildcats...SMILEY...and SUNSET...to the tune of spittin' six-guns and the rhythm of galloping hoofs! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 July 1944 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$99,762 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Sunset Carson: Continue with the operation, Doctor, but remember - if his pulse stops, so will yours!
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Taint Worth It
Written by Smiley Burnette
Sung by Smiley Burnette
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User Reviews

Frog and Sunset Make a Good Match
18 August 2005 | by krorieSee all my reviews

The title "Call of the Rockies" like most Republic oaters has nothing to do with the story or anything else in the film. That aside, this is the first matching of Smiley Burnette and Sonny Sunset Carson and it is a winning combination. Smiley gets top billing over newcomer Sunset and basically this is a Frog Millhouse flick. Smiley was a gifted songwriter and singer but his humor was usually on the silly side. But because of the superior writing by Robert Creighton Williams (who later had an uncredited hand in the magnificent "Ride the High Country"), Frog has some truly funny moments in this movie. Though Smiley did well as Gene Autry's sidekick and provided Gene with many of his tunes, he did not play well with some of the other cowboys of the era in particular Charles Starrett. There were rumors that Starrett and Burnette personally disliked each other. This was not the case with Frog and Sunset. Sunset, who was not much of an actor but who did have the good looks, had a flair for the comic, especially when teamed with Smiley. He has some of the funniest lines in the picture. Smiley after being saved by Sunset when trapped in the mine tries to make a pun on the moniker Frog. Sunset has the comeback, "If I knew you were going to say that I would have left you in there." When Doc Lee calms Murdock, Sunset quips, "You should've been a lion tamer." And there are many other hilarious comebacks by Sunset. There is also one humorous scene that is almost surrealistic.When Frog and Sunset are crossing the street to report to Murdock that his supplies were stolen, the camera shoots them from behind. Frog is leaning on Sunset. The contrast of a short fat funny man leaning on a tall slim person has to be seen to be appreciated. The movie even begins with a funny scene where Frog thinks Sunset's horse is talking to him. The final scene is reminiscent of the Marx Brothers. Frog talks to the audience and gets them to help him shoot the bad guy.

Added to the funny parts--and there are many--are the action scenes and the story dealing with an attempt by the bad guys to take control of all the mines in the area. The miners are led by future Superman, Kirk Ayrn, and his sister, played by Ellen Hall, a gorgeous redhead. Why would a dude like Sunset leave such a damsel behind at the end of the movie and ride of into the sunset (no pun intended)? The bad guys are marvelous with such character actors as Harry Woods and Tom London around to create havoc. This superior B western is entertaining and worthwhile. It makes one wonder why Sunset had only a brief film career.

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