Cast & Crew
Wyoming rancher "Lucky" Langham, who has lost most of his money on the stock market, hopes that his playgirl daughter Cody will soon come to her senses and leave New York. Lucky then bets his foreman, Gene Autry, and his men that he is not too old to beat them in a race, but during the race, he collapses and later dies. When Cody returns to Wyoming to claim her inheritance, she is arrested for hitting a pig with her car, and Gene has to bail her out of jail. Although he is attracted to her, she is unhappy with him when she learns that Lucky made him executor of his estate with the proviso that Cody could not marry or sell the ranch without Gene's permission. She decides to turn the ranch into the Langtry Inn, a dude ranch, then sends a telegram to her boyfriend, Larry Cummings, accepting his proposal. When Larry arrives, Cody tells him that she is broke except for the ranch, which is worth $250,000, and that Gene must approve their marriage. Soon Sykes and Kuzak, two of Larry's cohorts, arrive from Chicago and are instructed to arrange an "accident" for Gene. They get some men to rustle Cody's cattle, and when Gene chases after them, he is knocked unconscious. While his friend Frog revives him, they discover an incriminating telegram that Larry had sent to Kuzak. Gene then confronts Larry, but leaves when Cody interrupts. Because she has heard everything, she orders Larry out, but he tells her to give him $10,000 or Gene will be killed. The next day Cody asks Gene for the money, not telling him why, but he refuses and has Frog and the boys stage a fake cattle-rustling stampede to get the cattle safely out of the way. Cody's friend, Jane Crocker, tells her about the ruse so Cody decides to stage her own kidnapping and send a ransom demand for $10,000. Gene suspects that the plot is phony, but when he gets another note upping the amount to $25,000, he realizes that Cody must really be in trouble. Jane tells Gene the real reason why Cody needed the money and he and the men go after her. Finally, Cody is rescued, Larry and his friends are captured and Gene and Cody drive home.
Le Roy Mason
Charles E. Ford
Parts of this film were shot on location at Keene Camp, CA. According to contemporary news items, this was Gene Autry's first film following a lengthy dispute with Republic Pictures that began in November 1937. Following completion of The Old Barn Dance (see below) in early Dec, Autry, who was the number one Western star according to an Motion Picture Herald exhibitors' poll, went on strike against Republic. According to Motion Picture Daily, Autry refused to return to work at the studio until they raised his salary from $5,000 to $15,000 per picture. The article also mentioned that Autry's attorney, Sam Wolfe, said that Autry had claimed that his contract was breached by the studio, which did not have a new production ready for him immediately after completion of The Old Barn Dance. During the strike, Judge R. B. C. Howell of Nashville granted Republic an injunction against Autry, barring him from appearing in any films, live shows or radio programs for the life of his contract. In February 1938, Roy Rogers was selected to appear in Under Western Stars (see below), a picture previously announced as an Autry vehicle entitled Washington Cowboy. In mid-April 1938, Autry sued Republic for using his lyrics to the song "Dust" in Under Western Stars without his consent. According to Hollywood Reporter, in early May 1938, during a convention of Republic Pictures affiliates held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, rumors of a settlement of the dispute surfaced, and on 5 May, during a routine convention speech, shots were heard from behind the speaker's podium, and as people scrambled to the floor, the curtains parted and Autry appeared on the arm of Herbert J. Yates, head of Republic. Huge cheers arouse among exhibitors as they realized that the dispute had been settled between the studio and their biggest box office star. Autry was the only "Western" star, aside from Roy Rogers and John Wayne, to rank among the top ten box office stars in the annual Variety rankings. Variety notes that this was the motion picture debut of radio singers J. L. Frank and the Golden West Cowboys, popular stars on Nashville station WSM. Modern sources add the following additional cast members: Jack Kirk, Charles King, Lew Kelly, Joe Whitehead, Earl Dwire, Herman Hack, George Plues, Maudie Prickett, Al Taylor and Art Dillard.