In 1935, after forty years in a West Virginia prison, three released convicts wish to open a legitimate business using the twenty-five thousand dollars earned in jail, but a crooked prison guard in cahoots with the town banker plans to defraud them.
An English woman and her daughter enlist the aid of a cowboy to try and get their hardy hornless bull to mate with the longhorns of Texas, but have to overcome greedy criminals and the natural elements.
Out of the blue, the grizzled farm hand, John O'Hanlan, receives an unexpected letter from an unknown solicitor in the far off town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, informing him that he is the proud owner of the Cheyenne Social Club, now that his estranged brother, D.J., has passed away. Eager to trade in the dusty landscapes of 1867 Texas for an easy life as a businessman--and at the same time intrigued--John sets out on a long trip along with his best friend, Harley Sullivan, to create a better future for himself. Somehow, John's newest and only acquisition has both a good and a bad reputation; either way, the establishment's inexperienced manager now holds the fates of its loyal staff in his hands: a beautiful sextet of dedicated, and above all, popular female employees. However, is John cut out for business?Written by
Charles Tyner plays Charlie Bannister, uncle of Corey Bannister (Robert J. Wilke), despite being eleven years younger than Wilke. See more »
At the time of filming, Jimmy Stewart was sixty-one, With the film set in 1867, his character would have been born in 1806. His character says he was born in the Texas panhandle. At the time, and up through the 1850's Commanche opposition to whites was so fierce that it would have been impossible to settle there. There was a trading post at Adobe Walls that was the scene of a pitched battle, leaving the post abandoned and with the Army issuing an warning for whites to stay out of the panhandle. In fact, the Chisholm trail detoured west to New Mexico territory before heading north specifically to avoid passing through the hostile situation in the panhandle. See more »
"The Cheyenne Social Club" is a delightful easy going comedy western produced and directed by screen legend Gene Kelly. Given the subject matter, Kelly manages to stick handle around the double entendres and present a comedy that is tastefully done and probably offended no one.
Two drifters, John O'Hanlan (James Stewart) and Harley Sullivan (Henry Fonda) are working cattle in Texas. One day O'Hanlan receives a letter informing him that he has inherited some property in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So he and Harley set out for Cheyenne.
When they arrive, they discover that the property that O'Hanlan has inherits is a bawdy house known as The Cheyenne Social Club. They meet the "Madame", Jennie (Shirley Jones) and the rest of the girls, Opal Ann (Sue Ann Langdon), Pauline (Elaine Divry), Carrie Virginia (Jackie Russell), Annie Jo (Jackie Joseph) and Sara Jean (Sharon DeBord).
O'Hanlan at first is hailed as a saviour by the townsfolk. He is given carte blanche at the local saloon by the Barkeep (Robert Middleton) and becomes the most popular man in town. Harley meanwhile has struck up a friendship with another saloon girl Alice (Jean Willes) after he stops her runaway horse.
O'Hanlan is uncomfortable with the kind of business he's in and announces that he is closing up the Social Club while he ponders his next move. Well, the townsfolk don't take too kindly to this and turn against him. In particular he runs afoul of bully Corey Bannister (Robert J. Wilke).
When Jennie is beat up by Bannister, O'Hanlan comes to her aid. With some unexpected help from Harley, he manages to gun down Bannister. The local Marshal (Arch Johnson) warns O'Hanlon that Bannister's relatives will surely come after him. Harley decides to return to Texas. On the trail he meets the Bannisters led by "Uncle" Charlie (Charles Tyner) who are heading to Cheyenne.
Only O'Hanlon is left to defend the Social Club and its girls. But then........................
Stewart and Fonda had been friends since the 1930s and play well off of each other. As a contrast, takes a look at "Firecreek" which they made two years earlier for two completely different performances. Both had done light comedy before so were able to play these roles convincingly. They even get to "sing" a song on the trail (good thing they didn't quit their day jobs).
The film is made even better with its fine supporting cast. In addition to those already mentioned there is Dabbs Greer as Lawyer Willowby, J.Pat O'Malley as a fast talking drummer and John Dehner, Jason Wingreen, Myron Healey and Hal Baylor in other roles.
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