Billy the Kid Returns


58m 1938

Brief Synopsis

After Pat Garrett kills Billy the Kid, Billy's look-alike Roy Rogers arrives and is mistaken for him. Although a murderer, Billy was on the side of the homesteaders against the large ranchers. As Billy's death is unknown, Roy gets Garrett to let him pose as Billy to continue the fight, but without the killing.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 4, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
58m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,051ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

Billy the Kid is revered by homesteaders for his help, even though he has become a thief and a murderer. After he escapes from a shootout with lawmen and is recaptured by his former friend, Sheriff Pat Garrett, Garrett is forced to kill him rather than let him escape again. Meanwhile, Roy Rogers, who bears a strikling resemblance to Billy, helps a wagon train of new "nesters," as the homesteaders are called, from attacks by the ranchers. Although Garrett is suspicious of Rogers, Sheriff Conway convinces him that Roy's resemblance to Billy can work to their advantage. Roy is secretly deputized to pose as Billy, and helps the nesters, while remaining loyal to Garrett. When rancher and town boss Morganson and his henchman Matson plan to steal money from honest merchant Danny O'Moore, Roy overhears and takes the money first, making Garrett, Moore and his daughter Ellen think that he has been deceiving them. With his own cunning and the help of his childhood friend Fran "Frog" Milhouse, though, Roy defeats Morganson and his gang, returns the money, and wins the respect of the entire town. Now convinced of his honesty, Garrett willingly accepts Roy as his deputy, and Moore accepts him as a future son-in-law.

Film Details

Release Date
Sep 4, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
58m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,051ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Variety credits Vern (Tim) Miller with some of the songs, but Film Daily Year Book and Motion Picture Herald credit Vern Spencer instead of Miller. An August 1938 letter from Republic studios in the AMPAS library file on the film stated that Lynn Roberts would henceforth be known as Mary Hart and that all documentation on the film should reflect her new name. Although the picture itself bills the actress as Hart, most reviews credit her as Roberts. In an introduction to this film for a 1987 television program, Roy Rogers said that a studio executive thought that changing Roberts' name would result in a publicity boost when theater marquees displayed "Rogers and Hart" above the title, capitalizing on the fame of popular composers Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Because the actress changed her name back to Lynn Roberts some time later, reviews and modern sources frequently confuse the names when crediting her work during the late 1930s. A news item in Hollywood Reporter prior to the film's production noted that this would be Kane's first film as director and associate producer under Ford, however, no other source lists Kane as anything other than director. A pre-release production chart in Hollywood Reporter lists the following additional cast members: Betty Rodman, Art Dillard, Betty Jean Hainey, Patsy Lee Parsons, Rudy Sooter, Jack Kirk, Al Taylor and Ray Nichols. Modern sources include actor George Montgomery in the cast, indicating that he was then acting under his real name, George Letz. Other actors included in modern sources are Dorothy Vaughn, Fank O'Connor, Bob Card, Jim Corey, Lloyd Ingraham, Bob McKenzie, Oscar Gahan, Fred Burns, Ralph Dunn and Rogers' horse Trigger. The historical figures of William H. Bonney, known as "Billy the Kid," and Pat Garrett have been used as characters in many films and television programs, among them M-G-M's Billy the Kid directed by King Vidor in 1930 and starring Johnny Mack Brown and Wallace Beery (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0419), a 1941 M-G-M film of the same title starring Robert Taylor and Brian Donlevy, directed by David Miller, and a 1973 M-G-M production, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson. Aaron Copeland's ballet Billy the Kid was written in 1938, but not performed until 1939.