Copyright 7 October 1938 by Republic Pictures Corp. No recorded New York opening. U.S. release dates: 25 September, 8 October, 19 October 1938. U.K. release through British Lion. Never theatrically released in Australia. 6 reels. 58 minutes.
SYNOPSIS: Three tough city kids are left a ranch when their father dies. Autry is the foreman of the ranch and assumes custody of the budding junior hoodlums. The plot utilizes a background of cattle rustling for Autry to teach the neophyte toughs the difference between right and wrong.
NOTES: Number 27 of Autry's 94 movies.
COMMENT: The title has nothing whatever to do with the plot. Dying criminal asks Gene Autry to look after his three boys. The lads, however, fall in with the local cattle rustler... The credit of direction by Ralph Staub doesn't augur any too well (he also directed another Autry vehicle Western Jamboree) though one must admit that the direction here is competent, though the pace is rather slow and Staub is careful not to break into or break up any of the musical numbers including quite a long all-music stretch at the local square dance.
There are a few running inserts and some tracking shots though many of the angles, even in the action sequences (which include some terrific stunt work and Gene galloping after a runaway carriage, a standard feature of just about all his films) are stationary, or panning shots from fixed camera positions.
Stanley Andrews does not make a particularly colorful villain, while ace villain William Pawley is restricted to a small and unimportant role as his deputy-stooge. Still, nice to see Tom London and Bud Osborne as a couple of bushwackers and Jack Rockwell as the sheriff.
The boys are given exaggerated gangster clichés by way of dialogue - probably the scriptwriters were deliberately aiming at parody, but unfortunately the lads under Mr Staub's heavy-handed direction play it perfectly straight. The heroine has but a small and unimportant part - she exists mainly to feed lines to Autry though she also serves as the butt of some of the comedy. In fact, Burnette has a sizable role with much elemental slapstick.
Production values are better-than-average by "B" western standards, the photography is not as flat as in many of the Autry westerns and there is some lively background music under the location-filled action scenes.