Cast & Crew
In California in 1880, Pony Express rider Gene Autry carries some very important saddlebags that contain not only mail, but money desperately needed by ranch owner Dolores Moreno to save her land from being sold to pay back taxes. Once Gene is far out in the desert, he is ambushed by Slim and Butch, who steal Dolores' money . Slim and Butch leave Gene to die, while at Dolores' Vista Grande Rancho, Marshal John Hawkins posts a notice that the ranch will be auctioned off in fifteen days. Dolores, who sold her cattle to get the money for the taxes, plans to breed horses and to use a wild stallion named "El Diablo" to re-establish a good bloodline. A neighboring rancher, Matt Ford, watches as her men try to break the stallion. Ford, who breeds thoroughbreds, expects Pony Express horse buyer Caldwell to buy his horses. Although he offers to loan Dolores money if her's does not arrive in time, Ford, actually Slim and Butch's boss, previously ordered them to steal Dolores' money so that she would be forced to marry him and he could gain control of her ranch. El Diablo breaks free and runs into the desert, where he gets the lariat around his neck caught in some rocks. Gene frees him and the next day, breaks him to the saddle. Gene rides El Diablo to the ranch, where he tells Dolores and Caldwell about the robbery. Realizing that the thief must have known about the shipment, Gene becomes suspicious of Ford and asks Caldwell to be relieved of duty while he searches for the culprit. Ford then orders Slim and Butch to kill Gene, and when their attempt to shoot him fails, Gene grows even more suspicious. The next day, Dolores' ranch hand Frog reports to Gene that there is no unusual activity in town, after which Gene tells Dolores that they can raise the money she needs by breaking her wild mustangs and selling them to Caldwell. Gene sends El Diablo back to the herd to help control it, and while the horse fights with a pinto for leadership of the herd, Gene rushes to Ford's house and prevents him from signing a contract with Caldwell. Ford agrees to race twenty of his horses against twenty of Gene's, with the winner getting the contract. Gene and Frog and their men spend an arduous few days breaking and training the horses, until, one night, Ford's men free the animals from their corral. With only El Diablo and four other horses left, Gene still enters the race. Meanwhile, Ford has captured the pinto and painted it to resemble a thoroughbred. The race begins, and Ford's men quickly cheat their way into first place. Ford is in the lead and switches to the pinto during the last stretch. Enraged by the presence of his rival, El Diablo catches up and carries Gene to victory. Gene exposes Ford's trick, and Frog reveals that he found Butch on the trail with Dolores' money. Butch confesses his crimes and states that Ford is behind the scheme, and the men are taken away. Later, riders at the Pony Express station sing a song to congratulate Gene and Dolores, who have just been married.
Joseph H. Lewis
Sam H. Stept
The working title of this film was The Galloping Minstrel. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, this picture was filmed on location at Lone Pine, CA. A billboard of Comin' Round the Mountain provided an important clue in the 1938 Republic film Hollywood Stadium Mystery. Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Frank Lackteen, Jim Corey, Al Taylor, Steve Clark, Frank Ellis and Dick Botiller.