While trailing Forest Ranger Charles Carter (Jason Robards Sr.), who is suspected of permitting lumber man Henry Mitchell (Douglass Dumbrille) to cut restricted timber, Gene fires at a dangerous mountain lion and apparently kills Carter. Actually, Bill Wright (Damian O'Flynn), Mitchell's associate, killed Carter because the ranger had discovered tussock moth infestation in the forest, and if the infestation was not reported, the trees would die and have to be cut, thereby profiting Mitchell and Wright. In order to compensate the best he can, Gene sells his sportsman's camp and gives the money to Carter's daughter Helen (Patricia Barryas Patricia White) . En route to Texas, Gene discovers the infestation and is assigned by the Forest Department to supervise the program of spraying the area with DDT from the air. After the first day of spraying, the DDT is blamed by furious stock men for the many animals found dead of poisoning. Gene suspects a strange plane heard flying in the night ...Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New science has made this particular Gene Autry western quite out of date. Seems as though the rumors those outlaws were spreading about DDT was right after all. The government did ban its use many years later.
But for Riders Of The Whistling Pines Gene is cast as a recently discharged forest ranger who is accused of killing another forest service ranger. The death is ruled accidental.
Why he was killed was that he discovered a kind of moth that can devastate the timber. Gene later discovers it and persuades the Interior Department in the form of his forest service buddies to spray DDT and save the timber.
But that doesn't help villain Douglass Dumbrille who wants the moths to kill the trees because he can strip the forest of dead trees and make a real windfall profit.
There's quite a bit more plot to this horse opera than is the case for one aimed at the Saturday Matinée crowd. There's also Jimmy Lloyd who is Autry's pal and drinking a lot because he got through World War II without a scratch and his wife died at home. Lloyd does something you would not see normally in a B picture kid's western.
Sad to say though that science really renders Riders Of The Whistling Pines quite obsolete.
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