Lively programmer thanks to hard riding, acrobatic fisticuffs, and energetic performances. Jones makes an excellent headstrong kid, while Gail Davis shows why she was an Autry favorite in more ways than one. The plot's more complex than usual. Gene has to help the corps of NMMI cadets straighten out Jones before the bad guys cheat him out of the ranch.
There're more speaking parts than usual, spread out among a notable supporting cast—King Kong's Robert Armstrong, 1930's bad boy Frankie Darro, and the Lone Ranger himself Clayton Moore. Throw in Your Hit Parade's Russell Arms and NMMI's corps of cadets and you've got a more colorful array than usual for an oater. Also, there's little expected comic relief and what there is comes across as more gruff than silly.
For me, the only real drawback echoes that of reviewer Carl 70—the editing room did a poor job of merging New Mexico flatland with SoCal scrublands, in addition to obvious process shots with the Hollywood cast standing in front of a back-screen. Too bad these technical aspects don't rise to the level of the movie as a whole.
Nonetheless, with a better than average cast and script, plus New Mexico locations, it looks like Gene was reaching for more than the ordinary and generally speaking, he got it.
(In passing—By the time I was a cadet at NMMI in the late 50's, the cavalry format had been eliminated. No more horses or championship polo. Instead, we were trained in tank warfare, the more modern equivalent. Seeing the movie now, I'm sort of sorry I wasn't there ten years earlier.)
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