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Rio Grande (1938)

Approved | | Western | 8 December 1938 (USA)
Barker is after the Andrews ranch and kills Bart Andrews. But Bart had sent for Cliff and Cliff now arrives and takes over the fight against Barker. To get the necessary hands to drive ... See full summary »


Sam Nelson


Charles F. Royal (original screen play) (as Charles Francis Royal)


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Complete credited cast:
Charles Starrett ... Cliff Houston
Ann Doran ... Jean Andrews
Bob Nolan ... Bob Stevens
Dick Curtis ... Ed Barker
George Chesebro ... Kruger
Hank Bell ... Hank
Pat Brady ... Pat
Art Mix ... Durkin
Lee Prather Lee Prather ... Goulding
Sons of the Pioneers ... Singing Ranch Hands


Barker is after the Andrews ranch and kills Bart Andrews. But Bart had sent for Cliff and Cliff now arrives and takes over the fight against Barker. To get the necessary hands to drive Andrews' herd to market, Cliff makes a deal with Barker saying hew will give him half the money collected. Both Cliff and Barker then make plans to double-cross the other when the cattle are sold. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Adventures Gallops To Roaring Tunes Of The Plains!




Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

8 December 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

O Rancho da Morte See more »

Filming Locations:

Agoura, California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Slumbertime On the Plains
(Also called "Slumber Time Across the Plains")
Music and Lyrics by Bob Nolan
Performed by Bob Nolan and Sons of the Pioneers
See more »

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User Reviews

The Kind They Don't Make Anymore
25 March 2004 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

You can sit back and relax with this one. Your mind will never be prompted to ask about who or what is good or bad. Any inquisitive spirit you have will be smothered as a flame sprayed with carbon tetrachloride. Foom! Out.

We have Starrett as the good guy. You can tell he's the hero even without hearing him speak or act. He wears a monumental broad-brimmed white hat the size of the now-defunct Brown Derby. The rest of his outfit is black except for a very long and very decorative white neckerchief, and maybe a couple of silver accents on his boots and spurs. He rides the only white horse in the movie. He's also the only handsome actor in the movie. The bad guy, Baker, is dressed in undistinguished shades of gray except for his black hat. And what a peculiar face -- dwindling down from his brow into a weak pointed chin above which there is a tiny mouth like a limpet's crowned by an evil-looking dark mustache.

Ann Doran is there because the movie needs a woman, in this case a put-upon rancher whom the heavies are trying to put out of business. (The rest of the plot isn't worth going into.) The Sons of the Pioneers (sans Ken Curtis) are there to provide some comic relief and to sing two songs in their distinctive harmony. There's another guy, the stud duck for Doran's ranch, who has a handlebar mustache like James Finlayson's in the Laurel and Hardy movies and he provides some jokes too. There are some other actors. I forget who they are or what they did. Some of them get shot. All the ones that get shot are heavies.

It's the kind of Western that Mel Brooks sent up in "Blazing Saddles." What kept Brooks' movie from being more amusing was that this kind of Western was already out of date. Low-budget B Westerns had disappeared long ago, about the time the public was OD'ing on cheap TV Western series that have now themselves been forgotten, with names like, "Wanted: Dead or Alive," and "Have Gun, Will Travel," and "High Chapparal."

But the thing is that movies like this filled up a lot of Saturday afternoon matinees for kids as the second (or sometimes third) feature, or should I say "feature"? (It's only an hour long.) The kids ate up the gunplay along with the jujubees and Good 'n Plenties. Watching this monstrous thing is like being Twilight Zoned back into a pre-World War II period when, I guess, kids wore beanies and knickers and sneaks. At least that's how I imagined them. The contemporary audience for this movie, although existing only in fantasy, was more interesting than the movie itself.

But see it if you need reassurance. Watch a digital world in which good is unquestionably good and evil is devoutly evil. It's an historical period piece, a chronicle of the times.

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