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William D. Russell
Michigan in 1827 was a bit off the beaten path for any B-western, especially one from Gene Autry, so Gene had to shed his Levis (since Mr. Strauss was about 20 years away from stitching his first pair together in San Francisco) and wear a different gun-belt, but the rest of his costume (hat and string-looped shirt) didn't make much of a bow in the authentic direction in this film, which finds the fur empire of Jules Brissac in Michigan's Saginaw Valley wilderness being threatened by advancing settlers. His right hand henchman, Miller Webb, disguised as an Indian, leads renegade Delawares against the settlers. Captain Gene Autry of Hamilton's Rangers is sent to investigate. Gene and his pal Smiley, aided by Randy Lane and Brissac's niece, Flora Tourney, find evidence pointing to the guilt of Brissac and Webb and round them up to make the region safe for settlers.Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gene leaves the dusty range and heads to the Great White North to clean up the Saginaw Valley from crooked Frenchie fur trader Jules Brissac (Eugene Borden) and henchman Miller Webb (Myron Healey). Along the way he befriends orphaned adolescents Randy Lane (Ralph Reed) and Flora Tourney (Connie Marshall). Aided by Delaware Indian renegades, Healy and Borden attempt to stop settlers from moving into the valley.
Typical of a lot of the later Gene Autry Westerns this one finds Gene singing less and fighting more. Not to worry though, Gene does manage to get in several tunes along the way. "Comic antics" furnished via Smiley Burnette and (lucky us) Smiley also gets a chance to crank out a tune of his own. No real leading lady, as the obligatory romantic undercurrent is supplied by the two adolescent heroes played by Marshall and Reed.
This was Gene's second to last starring movie. His television series was in its third year of production and western movie counterparts Roy Rogers and William Boyd (as Hopalong Cassidy) had already ridden into the Slver Screen sunset and onto the small screen . Only a handful of the old B-Westerns that once dominated the Saturday Afternoon Matinees were left to be produced. It was perhaps an instructive glimpse into Gene's real life, when at the end of the movie, Gene advises the young hero (wannabe trapper Reed) "Don't try to stop progress, go with it, be a part of it".
Just so-so Gene Autry.
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