8 August 2008 | bkoganbing
Kidnapping The Sheriff
The abbreviated version I saw of Red River Valley did not cut too much out of the story that I had to make up for gaps. Still a director's cut might be in order. Who knows if we'll ever get one.
Roy Rogers is a radio entertainer with The Sons of the Pioneers as his backup singers and band as was the case in real life. He's also a rancher in the Red River Valley and they've got some problems with a new dam that's supposed to go up.
The government's kicked in its half share in the project, but as per the agreement the residents have to raise half themselves. They do, but some thieves working for chief villain Trevor Bardette have their own ideas.
With the money gone and the dam only half finished, Bardette is perfectly willing to let the dam go providing everyone turn over their shares of stock in the company running the dam. Roy and editor Gabby Hayes smell a rat as of course everyone in the audience did. But sheriff Robert Homans is convinced of Bardette's honesty. And he's also the biggest stockholder in the dam corporation.
What to do, but Roy kidnaps the sheriff to buy some time and he has to keep buying more time until the villains are exposed.
Part of the problem as is usually the case with these films, the crusty old sheriff develops a strange prejudice against Roy. In this case he finds him frivolous, he should be tending to ranch business instead of being a radio singer. That's no occupation for a substantial citizen, especially if he's courting daughter Gale Storm.
Red River Valley might be the first film where Pat Brady has an important role. He's the bass fiddle player with the Sons of the Pioneers and he develops a secondary romance with Sally Payne who plays Gabby's daughter and the town telephone switchboard operator.
If any film ever pointed out the need for a Tennessee Valley Authority this one is it. Some very greedy capitalists might have controlled the Red River Valley water supply if it weren't for Roy's intervention.
Still it does make one wonder where was the Department of the Interior and its honest Secretary Harold Ickes were while all this skulduggery was going on?
Maybe going to him would have violated the cowboy code.