Arthur Lubin's entertaining but sophomoric comedy western "The First Traveling Saleslady" casts Oscar-winning actress Ginger Rogers are a corset salesperson in the Old West. James Arness and Clint Eastwood co-star. Initially, our heroine Miss Rose Gillray (Ginger Rogers of "Kitty Foyle") with the help of her friend Molly Wade (Carol Channing of "Skidoo") establish the Gillray Corset Company in New York City and persuade sell to theatrical producer Martin Schlessinger (Fred Essler of "G.I. Blues") stage a revue with ladies in their corsets. Schlessinger likes the idea, especially after Rose hints that if he doesn't want to that she can find another producer. Just as Schlessinger had feared, the ladies of the Purity League form a picket line to protest what they consider to be scandalous apparel, and the police shut down the show. Drowning in debt, Rose refuses to sneak out of town as one of her employees suggests, and she goes directly to see one of her biggest creditors, James Carter (David Brian of "Flamingo Road"), who owns the Carter Steel Company. Steel is an integral part of all corsets. When she tries to see Carter, he brushes her off while he complains to Teddy Roosevelt (Ed Cassidy of "Boss of Rawhide") that he cannot make any headway selling barbwire in Texas. The biggest cattleman in Texas, Joel Kingdom (James Arness of "Flame of the Islands"), refuses to buy it, and salesmen who try to sell it often wind up hanged. Rose exploits this predicament as an opportunity to eliminate her debt to Carter, and she argues that she can sell all of Carter's barbwire. Carter admires Rose's spirit, but he thinks that she is biting off more than she can chew. Nevertheless, Rose sneaks out of New York with Carter's barbwire hidden in boxes with her corsets stenciled on them. The primary objection that Kingdom and everybody else in Texas raise is that cattle will suffer being hemmed in by the barbwire. At one point, Kingdom has the local sheriff incarcerate Rose and Molly. Throughout the picture, Rose repeatedly encounters a man in a car, Charles Masters (Barry Nelson of "The Shining"), and he usually complicates matters for her. He crashes into her horse and buggy, and they wind up riding to her New York corset headquarters with Rose's horse pulling Masters' broken-down car. A running joke between them is Charles' ridicule of Rose's feminism. Ultimately, these two cross paths with each other again and again, while Rose brushes off the amorous advances of both Carter and Kingdom. Meanwhile, when they arrive at a hotel in Kansas City where the Cattlemen's Association has convened a meeting, Molly meets a handsome army lieutenant, Lieutenant Jack Rice (Clint Eastwood of "Star in the Dust"), who is recruiting men for Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Mind you, the cattlemen abhor the idea of barbwire because it will hurt their livestock. Eventually, Kingdom has our heroines locked up. Later, after he learns about Molly being thrown in jail, Lieutenant Rice rides in like the cavalry to save the day. Everything concludes with a jury trial to champion the idea that barbwire won't harm cattle. Rose calls on Mexicans to testify at the trial. She wants to prove her point that cattle aren't harmed by barbwire.
"The First Traveling Saleslady" is no great shakes as westerns go, but it is definitely amusing fluff.
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