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  • One of the best known, and one of the more entertaining, among Roy Rogers' Westerns, "My Pal Trigger" has a pretty good blend of western action and melodrama. It's good entertainment, fast-paced, with plenty going on at all times. The plot may not always be plausible, but it always keeps your attention, as one thing after another keeps coming up to test Roy's patience and ingenuity. Although much of the time you can see what's coming, it's pretty hard not to pull for him. The movie includes Gabby Hayes as one of his most cantankerous characters, and also Dale Evans. If you enjoy these old B-Westerns, you should find this one worthwhile.
  • When Roy is mistakenly accused of killing Gabby Hayes' prize winning stallion, he takes his mare on the run where she gives birth to Rogers' iconic horse Trigger, returning a few years later to make things right.

    My Pal Trigger is a well-written, satisfying outdoor adventure that really knows how to manipulate the emotions of it's targeted audience. I neither like nor use the terms "oat opera" or "horse opera", but if ever there was a film that deserved those titles, then this one is it!

    A great cast includes nearly all of Rodgers' best known (and best loved) co-stars, Gabby Hayes, Dale Evans, Bob Nolan, and The Sons Of The Pioneers, not to mention fine character actor Jack Holt.

    This is the quintessential Roy Rogers western and a good place to start if you're wondering what all the fuss was about some sixty-plus years ago.
  • "My Pal Trigger" was reportedly one of Roy Rogers favorites of his films. Republic gave it a little more budget and its running time at 79 minutes is a good 10-20 minutes longer than the standard "B" programmer.

    The story involves Roy attempting to have rancher Gabby Hayes prize stallion sire a colt with his mare. Hayes (in a straight acting role) refuses and in the ensuing action, his stallion is shot and Roy is blamed. Of, course the two horses did get together and we know who the resultant colt will be. The rest of the film has Roy trying to convince Hayes and daughter Dale Evans of his innocence.

    There is not really a black-hearted villain in the story although Jack Holt is a close as it comes as Hayes rival rancher. The picture is devoid of any real action (although there are a couple of minor fights) and hardly a shot is fired. My God even Roy Barcroft as Holt's foreman doesn't even get into a fight. There are a few songs but no production numbers. The Sons of the Pioneers sing a catchy little tune.

    I liked the Rogers pics directed by William Witney better. They had more action and less music.
  • krorie11 July 2006
    King of the Cowboys, Roy Rogers, considered "My Pal Trigger" his personal favorite out of over one hundred films he made during his Hollywood days. It is easy to see why. He, Dale, Gabby, and the Sons of the Pioneers, led by gifted songster Bob Nolan, do the best acting of their careers. Dale, Queen of the Cowgirls, struts her stuff, as Susan Kendrick, showing that she was not only a delightful singer but a dramatic actress as well. Even Gabby plays it straight as Dale's father with an especially touching scene when his favorite palomino, Golden Sovereign, is mistakenly shot and killed. Jack Holt, whose son, Tim, the cowboy star, was a close friend of Roy's and Dale's, plays the bad guy, Brett Scoville, with a touch of kindness, making the character more than a one-dimensional heavy that was usually the case in the B westerns.

    Strictly speaking the real stars of the film are the horses, Golden Sovereign, Lady, the wild stallion, and Trigger, another reason why "My Pal Trigger" was dear to Roy's heart. Roy and Dale were sincere animal lovers who cared for their well being. The title, which some critics call as inane as "My Dog Spot," has true meaning for the story being told. To Roy and Dale, horses were pals, as real as any human pal around, a true companion to be counted on in good times and in bad.

    The story holds up well. Roy is framed for killing Gabby's Golden Sovereign after Sovereign mates with Roy's mare, Lady, following a confrontation between Golden Sovereign and a wild stallion for Lady's affections. The real culprit, Scoville, who owns the neighboring horse ranch plus a casino in town, covets Gabby's ranch. Scoville through rigged card games collects a huge pile of IOU's from Gabby. Roy becomes a fugitive, taking the colt, Trigger, sired by Golden Sovereign, with him. Trigger's mother, Lady, is killed by a mountain lion, leaving Trigger an orphan in Roy's hands. Roy returns with Trigger and surrenders to the authorities. Trigger is taken by Scoville through red tape maneuvering. The resolution to "My Pal Trigger" is determined by the outcome of a horse race between Gabby's palomino and Scoville's Trigger, ridden by Roy, who has made a deal with Scoville to not only retrieve Trigger but also to get even with Gabby. Along the way Gabby's daughter, Susan (Dale), has fallen in love with Roy and changed from holding Roy responsible for Golden Sovereign's death to believing Roy is not guilty, helping him prove his innocence to get Trigger back.

    The music is apropos to the story. Roy and Susan (Dale), when first introduced via Lady inviting Golden Sovereign over to her side of the coral, make a dinner date with Gabby and the rest of the ranch hands. At the dinner, Roy's pal, Bob Nolan, informs those in charge that Roy can sing. Roy is hesitant until Susan (Dale) agrees to join him. They do a rollicking ditty called "Harriet" about her lariat. Shortly after the dinner Roy and Susan fall out with each other over the death of Golden Sovereign; so no more duets. Roy sings a solo in keeping with the image of Lady and later Trigger called "Old Faithful Pal," just before Lady's death. Later Susan accompanies herself on the piano with the sad melody, "Long, Long Ago." Other songs in the film include "Livin' Western Style" and "Alla En El Rancho Grande," performed by the Sons of the Pioneers. The rest of the show is adventure and action.
  • In this film, Roy Rogers is trying to get a grouchy guy, Gabby Kendrick (Gabby Hayes), to provide stud services for Roy's horse. Hmmmm....let me rephrase that. Roy is trying to breed his horse with Gabby's horse. But Gabby won't hear of it and is a total jerk.

    Later, someone kills Gabby's prize horse and Roy is blamed for it. He didn't do it, of course, and it's pretty obvious that Scoville (Jack Holt) is behind it. But no one knows this until the end of the film--and in the meantime, Roy is forced, for some time, to hide from the law. Naturally, by the end of the film everything has worked out--and Roy has his new prize horsie, Trigger.

    This is a rather amiable Roy Rogers film. While the songs are completely ordinary, the plot is different and enjoyable. Not exactly deep or lasting entertainment but pretty nice stuff to pass the time.
  • I saw an edited version of this film that was done for television. Other reviewers here have mentioned scenes from it that I didn't see.

    There is more drama in this than in most of Roy Rogers's films. In fact he and Dale only sing one number right at the beginning because they become enemies.

    Dale is Gabby Hayes's daughter and Gabby is playing it more serious than he usually does. Roy's riding a mare called Lady when the film opens and he wants to breed his mare with Gabby's palomino named Golden Sovereign. Even though Roy's request is refused, the horses have a clandestine liaison.

    But then Gabby's horse is shot dead and Roy gets blamed for it. The rest of the film is how Roy rights all the wrongs and ends up with the product of the mating. You guessed it, his pal Trigger.

    I'm also thinking that maybe a musical number or two might have been cut from the version of My Pal Trigger I saw. I doubt it though, it would have taken away from the general seriousness of this particular Rogers-Evans film.

    Also note the presence of Jack Holt who is the villain of this film. It was one of his last, but his son Tim was doing B westerns over at RKO while Jack was in this Republic product. Jack Holt's got all kinds of villainous tricks up his sleeve here.

    Hopefully other viewers will see a complete version of My Pal Trigger and not the one I saw.
  • I went on a nostalgia trip and screened this movie when hearing of the death of Dale Evans. It is the best of the Roy Rogers movies with a real story and some genuinely touching moments, it is also a nice reminder of what a pretty and gracious lady Dale Evans was.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Considering the sappy title, 'My Pal Trigger,' I was expecting the usual Roy Rogers' western; i.e. pleasant, wholesome, sentimental, musical, fun and slightly juvenile. 'My Pal Trigger' had more tragic elements (including the violent deaths of two horses), a less sympathetic, stubborn, more feisty Roy Rogers and story which plays out over four years. Gabby Hayes, usually Roy's sidekick, plays his adversary, and has a gambling problem to boot! This is one of the best pairings of Rogers/Evans, though it takes a very long time for their relationship to jell. It's too bad Herbert Yates didn't shoot this one in color, since there are so many beautiful horses and scenery. As best I can see, the movie has only one serious factual flaw and one very unlikely event, and to describe those would spoil the fun. However, I'll explain them under spoilers to see if you agree, once you've seen the movie.


    Roy is blamed for the death of Gabby Hayes's Palomino, Golden Sovereign, after he is shot by the villain with a rifle and Roy's handgun is discovered to have one bullet discharged. However, Roy's handgun is VERY unlikely to fire the same caliber bullets as any rifle. Another unlikely, though possible event, occurs to Trigger, as a colt. Trigger steps in a trap meant for a mountain lion, but it is obvious the kind of trap shown would have hopelessly mangled Trigger's leg.


    These quibbles aside, 'My Pal Trigger' is one of Roy Rogers best 'adult' pictures, albeit a 'B' western with cheap production values, nonexistent directing and dull cinematography. These movies exist in a kitschy, predictable world of their own. When compared to 'A' westerns, it's barely worth a '5,' but on the 'B' level it's almost a '10'. Therefore, I give 'My Pal Trigger' a '7'.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "My Pal Trigger" is a showcase for "The Smartest Horse in the Movies" as Roy Rogers' horse was frequently billed. If any fault is to be found with the film, it's probably that there are too many stories going on; there are enough subplots to support another two or three movies.

    Central to the movie though, is Roy Rogers' attempt to find a suitable mare to breed with his own horse named Lady. Finding such a horse owned by the Kendrick's (Gabby Hayes as Gabby Kendrick, and Dale Evans as daughter Susan), Roy's request is denied as Gabby has no use for an animal other than those he has raised himself. The Golden Sovereign is part of the Kendrick stable, and is also the target of businessman Brett Scoville (Jack Holt). As Gabby falls deeper into debt at Scoville's gambling club, both Sovereign and the Kendrick ranch are at risk of falling into the villain's hands.

    Trigger arrives on the scene as the foal of Golden Sovereign and Lady, who managed to get together for a moonlight tryst shortly after the Sovereign is kidnapped by Scoville's henchmen. Framing Roy for the theft, and again implicating him for the death of Sovereign, Roy goes into self imposed exile. With a map of the Western States superimposed on the screen, we're led to believe that Roy has wandered far and wide, only to return to familiar locales for the birth of Trigger. Offering him to the Kendricks' as a replacement for Golden Sovereign, Rogers is finally taken into custody for the earlier events.

    Scoville now seeing an opportunity, secretly buys Trigger at auction when he becomes collateral for Roy's bail. In a stealthy maneuver, Scoville hires Roy to train Trigger, and challenges Gabby to a showdown race where it's winner take all - Gabby's gambling debt against his ranch. However, when Scoville trips up and places himself at the scene of Golden Sovereign's shooting, Roy has all the ammunition he needs to bring down the villain. In a climactic race at the State Fair, Roy aboard Trigger helps Miss Susan break free of Scoville's race entries; Susan's horse wins the race and Gabby's score is almost settled. It's not until the celebration dinner that the Sheriff arrives to arrest Scoville for the shooting of Golden Sovereign three years earlier.

    I've read where Roy Rogers considered "My Pal Trigger" his favorite film. For trivia fans as well as Roy Rogers fans, it's interesting to note that Trigger's real name was Golden Cloud, and made his first movie appearance as Lady Marian's mount in Errol Flynn's 1938 film "The Adventures of Robin Hood". Roy bought him soon after and the rest is Western film history.
  • Appealing Rogers oater. It's not so much a typical cowboy movie as a horse show. The plot's more complex than usual; plus, fans looking for gunplay and fisticuffs may be disappointed. Instead, Roy needs to clear himself from the belief that he shot Trigger's father Golden Stallion. Actually, it was scheming gambler Scoville (Holt) who's looking to gyp ranch owner Kendrick (Hayes) out of his land. Trouble is Kendrick thinks Roy is the horse killer and won't help him, even though daughter Susan (Evans) is drawn to Roy.

    Gabby's his usual grouchy self, much of it atypically aimed at Roy. In fact, his Kendrick is not very likable through much of the movie. High points include some awesome mountain scenery, a scary cougar, and some well-done horse action. Also Roy, Dale, and 'Pioneers take turns crooning several lovely standards. All in all, it's a more easy-going hour-plus than the usual. I'm just sorry to say they don't make 'em like this anymore.

    A "7" on the Matinée Scale.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Roy Rogers, Gabby Hayes, Dale Evans, and of course -- Trigger...all get together for another of those great old cowboy movies that Roy made back in the 1940s. While this is not the best of Roy's films -- that would be "Don't Fence Me In" with a wonderful Gabby Hayes performance -- this is far better than average.

    Here, Gabby and Roy start off on opposite sides when Gabby refuses to breed his horse -- the Golden Sovereign -- with Roy's horse. The two horses escape, and Golden Sovereign is shot...Roy is blamed. Time passes and Roy returns with Trigger, the son of Golden Sovereign. Of course, Roy gets to clear his name.

    Another nice thing about this film -- Bob Nolan and the Sons Of The Pioneers. The bad guy here -- once cowboy star himself, and later character actor Jack Holt.

    Many of the old Roy Rogers films didn't survive well being cut up to fit 60 minute time slots on black and white television back in the 1950s. This one did (at least the version shown recently on TCM), although the sound track has a very bad hiss throughout.

    One thing that these later Roy Rogers films suffered from were clear glimpses that Roy was using a double, for example, in the fight scenes...and that happens here. Gabby Hayes does more real acting in this film -- playing the father to Dale's character, and he shows more depth than usual.

    Westerns have certainly lost their dominance in cinema today, and the Roy Rogers films are certainly out of vogue, but historically Roy was the King Of The Cowboys, and this is one of his films that is worth watching.
  • Roy Rogers was the epitome of the stylized singing cowboy of the mid 20th century. This movie and others with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are probably better received by those who have an understanding of the real relationship and lifestyles of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans off screen.

    Typically the Roy Roger movies and television series were very stylized between black and white morality. This movie breaks the mold to the extent that while at heart, Roy plays an honest cowboy, his solution to being falsely arrested is to become a fugitive from justice. He also forces his way into a barn on private property when his mare goes into foal and fights the owner and ranch hands when they insist that he leaves.

    As with most "hero" movies, the truth comes out in the end when Dale Evans becomes to believe in Roy's innocence which is ultimately proved and the bad guys go to jail.

    On the surface this movie had Roy's fancy clothes and saddle, pistols and rifles, beautiful horses, cowboy singing, and even a square dance on horseback. By the 1940's, this was one version of the west that the movie companies presented to the public.

    As a side note, it is always interesting to reflect upon the style of any movie made just before, during, or after the depression or WII.
  • wes-connors6 September 2007
    In a flashback story, Roy Rogers relates how he obtained "My Pal Trigger". Mr. Rogers was, some time ago, a traveling peddler (and breeder) of horses. He rode a horse named "Lady". The Lady and the Gentleman go to George "Gabby" Hayes' ranch, where Rogers meets Bob Nolan and the "Sons of the Pioneers". Rogers next meets Gabby's lovely daughter Dale Evans (as Susan); she is atop the stallion "Golden Sovereign'. Rogers wants to breed "Lady" and "Golden Sovereign", but Mr. Hayes refuses. Jack Holt (as Brett Scoville) is an even badder dude.

    It's easy to see why this film is a sentimental favorite; and, it is an interesting change-of-pace. The part with Rogers, Ms. Evans, and the two horses meeting is clever - there is a parallel attraction between the two horses AND between Rogers and Evans. Having the horses get together and mate, on their own ,was quite nice. The mating of "Golden Sovereign" and "Lady" is confirmed (in case there was any doubt) by the birth of "Trigger". Along the way, the adults, especially Rogers, help give the Horses great characterization and appeal. There are some sweet, and sad, scenes Rogers plays out with the horses.

    The weaknesses in the story are going to be very obvious as you watch - you're barely able to accept the premise of the story when Rogers is suddenly accused of a crime. He's found "red-handed" by Gabby Hayes, Dale Evans and the "Sons of the Pioneers" - Evans points her gun at the accused Rogers, the man with whom she'd just been singing a happy song. The quickness to believe Rogers guilty is ridiculous. Later, Evans reverses her position. By then, the plot contrivances have multiplied faster than the horses. Though some of the scenes with the horses are nice, they are simply not adequate for what is attempted.

    **** My Pal Trigger (7/10/46) Frank McDonald ~ Roy Rogers, George 'Gabby' Hayes, Dale Evans
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Although it's often stated that when Rogers started out, he didn't directly compete with Gene Autry, this isn't true. In fact, he was actually hired as a replacement, as Rogers himself details at length in his autobiography. Although Rogers was never as popular with exhibitors, he had a great fan following, In fact, he managed to run up a total of no less than 91 movies in which he either starred or enjoyed a "special guest" spot in addition to his 12 appearances as one of the Sons of the Pioneers. Many of these movies are available on Public Domain DVDs, although there is no definitive edition of his work, as there is for Gene Autry. Worse, some of the DVDs reproduce cutdown TV versions rather than the original theatrical release.

    A pleasing exception is Volume 6 of "The Great American Western" series which reproduces the original USA release version of "My Pal Trigger". Admittedly it runs only 79 minutes, and I would have much preferred a re-issue of the 85 minutes version which Rogers himself regarded as his best film and which I saw in theaters back in 1947. Nonetheless, despite the cuts, this is still a top Rogers entry which dares to be extremely critical of law enforcement agencies. That's a nice change in itself. In fact, the only other movie I can call to mind that really gets the boot into the "justice" system is Paramount's "Vice Squad" (1931).

    Evidently Republic's Herb Yates had a fit when he saw the finished movie and ordered 6 minutes of cuts, but you can't cut out the theme of the movie itself, and even in its truncated state, it's still a riveting film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As you might expect, this film is especially suitable for those who like horse stories. But, there's plenty of intrigue involved in the birthing of Trigger, and how Roy comes to own him. An excellent screen play that keeps you interested throughout, with it's twists and turns..........Gabby Hayes owns a Palomino stud farm. Roy, as a horse and saddle trader, happens along, and asks Gabby if he will breed Roy's horse, Lady, with his best stallion. Roy gets an emphatic "No". He only breeds his own horses. Brett Scoville owns a nearby ranch, as well as the town saloon. He badly wants to acquire Gabby's best breeder: Golden Sovereign, if not the whole of Gabby's ranch, but Gabby won't sell..........So, Scoville sends Carlson and Hunter to steal Sovereign. This they do, but Sovereign is too much for them to handle. He gets away, and looks for Lady, whom he recently met. They have a tryst in the night, then head for a corral, where there's some food. Along comes a black stallion, and fights Sovereign for Lady. Meanwhile, Gabby has organized a search party, which includes Scoville and his men, who branch off from the main group. They check out the corral, and see Sovereign fighting the black stallion. Scoville is concerned that the stallion may hurt Sovereign. Thus, he raised his rifle and tried to aim for the stallion, but, as they were moving around, he happened to hit and kill Sovereign. The men left, as did the stallion, who was scared by the shot. Unfortunately, Roy heard the shot and rode to find out why. He saw 3 men riding away, but entered the corral to check on Sovereign. Unfortunately, Gabby and the others happened by, and saw Roy with Gabby's dead horse. Gabby was very upset, and assumed that Roy shot him as revenge for Gabby refusing to let Lady breed with Sovereign. Later, Roy is arrested for shooting a horse(and perhaps stealing it). He faces a preliminary trial, and is scheduled for a jury trial in a week. Roy's bail is paid by Wallace, who wants to keep Lady during that week as security. Roy objects, knocking him down and pinning his neck between two wheel spokes........He rides off on Lady, far away, until things cool down. While he is gone, Lady gives birth to Trigger. Just how Roy managed to survive, especially in winter, during this period, is ignored. Eventually, he returned, riding Trigger, rather than Lady, who had been mauled by a cougar, trying to protect Trigger, who had his leg caught in a bear trap(presumably). Roy decided Lady had to be shot, for her own good. How Trigger could walk normally, after Roy removed the trap is a mystery.........When Roy returns to Gabby's ranch, he asks if Trigger can breed with Golden Empress. Gabby is insulted at the idea of a half breed horse siring with his premier mare...........Roy is put in jail, and Trigger auctioned to pay his debt to Wallace. Trigger is bought by Scoville's agent. Dale, who thinks Roy is innocent, withdraws the charges, and Roy is let out. Roy finds out Scoville has Trigger(who runs away). And offers him Trigger back if he rides Trigger in the State Fair race and wins. Roy agrees, but then learns that it was Dale who got him out of jail, which confuses him. Gabby and Scoville had made a deal that if Gabby's horse won, his gambling debts would be forgiven and he would be given Trigger. But, if Scoville's horse won, he would get Gabby's ranch and all that goes with it, leaving Gabby and Dale destitute. ........During the race, Trigger takes a healthy lead, but then slows up, to combat 2 of Scoville's riders, who have boxed Dale against the inside rail. Eventually, Golden Empress barely beats Trigger. (One would think that Scoville could claim that it was obvious that Roy threw the race). It's an all around bad day for Scoville, as his henchmen talked about the stealing of and shooting of Sovereign, leading the sheriff to put Scoville in jail. ........Several songs are scattered, but no big production. Roy and Dale sing "Harriet, Handy with the Lariat". The Sons of the Pioneers have a song. Roy very appropriately sings "Old Faithful, Pal of Mine". Dale sings "Long, Long Ago". See the uncut version at YouTube.