Cast & Crew
Upon arriving at his family's ranch, returning war hero Corp. Bob Martin senses problems, even though his sister Helen and father "Pop" insist that all is well. When Pop's longtime foreman, Hank, suddenly quits to take a more lucrative job at the Leland Oil Company, however, Bob presses his father to talk. Pop reveals that while Bob was away, the owners of Leland Oil, a wildcat operation, struck oil on the adjoining property and, ever since then, has been trying to run him off, first by causing their oil to seep into the local waterways and then by luring Pop's workers away. Thinking that his land might also be oil-rich, Pop had asked lawyer Thatcher to hire a surveyor to assess the land, but the surveyor had not detected any oil. Now Pop is concerned because he owes money to Thatcher but does not know how he will be able to round up his herd in time to pay him off. When Bob drops by a Leland oil rig and asks Morris, the supervisor, to discuss ways to keep the oil out of the water supply, Morris and his men respond by instigating a brawl. Thatcher arrives on the scene and stops the fight, then advises Bob to let him handle the oil company. After Bob leaves, however, Thatcher, who knows there is oil on the Martins' land, orders Morris to steal the loan receipts he gave to Pop, intending to foreclose on him before he can complete his roundup. Bob, meanwhile, sends a telegram to "Gimpy" Edwards, who along with several other of his Army buddies--"Brooklyn" Adams, Corp. "Smitty" Smith, Feets, Tony and Jug--is recovering from war injuries at a veterans' hospital. Although Bob's telegram advises the men to cancel their plans to vacation at his ranch, the veterans are worried about their friend and surprise the Martins when all but Gimpy roar up to the ranch in jeeps. Gimpy, whose leg is still in a cast, then parachutes into a Martin tree, and a happy reunion ensues. The men pledge to help the Martins with the roundup and try to learn horseback riding. When Helen, who has begun a flirtation with ladies' man Gimpy, informs Thatcher, another admirer, of the veterans' involvement, he pressures Morris to obtain the receipts before they can finish the job. The veterans, meanwhile, realize that they will be more effective herding with their jeeps than with horses. While Bob, Brooklyn, Smitty and the others begin the roundup, the still incapacitated Gimpy remains at the ranch house with Helen. After a bruised Hank stumbles up to the house saying that he was beaten up for refusing to participate in Morris' illegal activities, Morris and his thugs show up, and with guns drawn, force their way into the house and grab the receipts. Gimpy manages to signal an S.O.S. to Bob and the others on the range, and the veterans race to the house. A fierce brawl ensues and just as Morris and his men are routed, Thatcher arrives brandishing a rifle. Gimpy knocks the weapon from Thatcher's hand, but the lawyer flees on horseback. Pursuing in a jeep, Gimpy soon overtakes Thatcher and knocks him out. After Gimpy delivers Thatcher for arrest, he resumes his flirtation with a grateful Helen.
Dale Van Sickel
Although this film was not listed in copyright records, a copyright statement, dated 1945, was included on the viewed print. Most sources list the film's title as Jeep-Herders, but screen credits do not include the hyphen. According to publicity material, Jeep Herders was the first 16mm theatrical, non-documentary picture to be made in Hollywood. Although it was previewed for the press in October 1945 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, no information regarding a 16mm release has been found. A black and white 35mm version of the film was released in 1950, according to The Exhibitor. Planet Pictures' second 16mm film, The People's Choice, which was produced shortly after Jeep Herders, was shown theatrically in 1946 and touted itself as the first 16mm feature release . In January 1946, a print made from a black and white dupe of the Kodachrome original was broadcast on the NBC network affliate in New York and on a local Hollywood station.