19 February 2006 | krorie
Action filled Gene Autry film with a change of locale
There's action aplenty in this Gene Autry oater involving fur smuggling across the Candadian border. The change of locale makes for a more diversified story with a sled dog team becoming part of the main chase toward the end of the adventure. Gene even starts an avalanche to trap the fur thieves. Alaska and Canada had been used in several westerns (northerns?) including the popular "The Spoilers," even leading to a radio show "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon," but Gene was one of the first to utilize it successfully in the B western.
Frog Millhouse is around as always for the humor. This time he does have a few funny scenes, not as forced as usual. Tadpole had not been added to the cast yet. This time there's another brat (Robert Winkler) to torment Frog with every devise available from fake handcuffs to saying he's going to drive a nail through Frog's head as Millhouse pretends to be a cigar store Indian. As if the rapscallion wasn't enough a wily knife thrower (Dorothy Granger) turns up to make Frog part of her act. Frog asks what happened to the person he was replacing. She replies, "I missed, but it was the only time." Unfortunately Frog doesn't get to show his main talents as a musician and songwriter. Gene and a group called the Colorado Hillbillies do all the music. At least Gene did some of the songwriting for the movie.
Unbeknownth to Dorothy Hamilton (June Storey) the fur smugglers are using her ranch as a storage place for the stolen merchandise. Gene and his cowboys take up temporary residence at the ranch to ferret out the crooks while they separate their herd from hers, which they had purposely mixed to start with. One of the best leading ladies for B westerns, Storey is hankering to ride and rope Gene so he's back in the saddle again. With a woman such as Storey around I don't blame Gene for not riding off into the sunset. He decides to mix his herd with hers at the end. What a way to go. He lets Frog ride off instead. This time the girl and not the horse wins the heart of the hero.
A covey of bad guys fills the screen with the likes of Harry Woods, Jack Ingram and the later Frankenstein monster Glenn Strange. Also watch for the silver screen's first Tarzan Elmo Lincoln in a bit part. Tully Marshall plays the part of the old man Steve who is Gene's partner until killed leaving a clue to his murderer scratched on a rock.