Cast & Crew
Ranch foreman Hopalong "Hoppy" Cassidy is sure that a stampede in which 200 head of cattle were lost and three cowboys of the Bar 20 ranch were killed was no accident. When ranch owner Buck Peters orders Hoppy to drive 1,000 head of cattle over the Black Buttes trail for sale, he is careful not to have a repeat of the previous year. As the ranchers round up the cattle, a stranger passing through town claiming to be a professor of paleontology, stops at the Bar 20 to have a horseshoe replaced and introduces himself as Horace Hepburn. When Hoppy learns he is the brother of neighboring rancher Nora Blake, on whom Hoppy is sweet, he welcomes him, but Hoppy's old sidekick, Windy Halliday, is suspicious when he finds cases of dynamite in Hepburn's wagon. While Hoppy and his men move the cattle into Black Buttes canyon, Hepburn and his rustlers light dynamite from the hills and trigger a stampede. Again, 200 head are lost, but no one is hurt, except for Buck's eager nephew Artie, who had begged to be part of the adventure. Because Artie cannot be moved, Windy stays behind with him while Hoppy's second partner, Lucky Jenkins, goes ahead with the rest of the cattle. Hoppy's scheme is to use Lucky as bait for the rustlers when he returns in a few days with the cash from the sale. Meanwhile, Hoppy visits Nora and tells her Lucky will be returning with cash so that Horace will overhear him. He then quietly threatens Horace about being a rustler, not wanting to sully Nora's love for her brother. Windy, meanwhile, sees Horace's rustlers changing the Bar 20 brand to look like Nora's brand. Hoppy then shows Nora a steer to prove her brand is being used, but still doesn't expose her brother. Because of Artie's poor condition, Windy is unable to ride to the ranch to fetch Buck and the ranchers for the ensuing fight. Artie distracts Windy, however, and races to the ranch himself. After Horace rides out from Nora's ranch, she becomes suspicious of her brother, but Hoppy denies his duplicity and receives a kiss before leaving for the shootout. When Horace gives the rustlers the signal to ride into the open and shoot Lucky from his horse, Hoppy fires at the rustlers, causing them to shield themselves behind rocks. Hoppy then pulls Lucky onto his horse. When one of the rustlers refuses to shoot Hoppy in the back, Horace shoots the rustler. Windy, Lucky and Hoppy then fire at the rustlers from behind their improvised rock fortress as Buck's men arrive, causing the rustlers to retreat. While attempting to dynamite a hill, Horace dies when a bullet sets off an explosion. Hoppy resolves to keep Horace's criminality from Nora, causing Windy to pronounce Hoppy in love.
D. M. Abrahams
George A. Hirliman
This film's working title was Cassidy Bar Twenty. It was shot in Lone Pine, California. The film marks Ralph Ravenscroft's first assignment as producer; previously he had worked as publicity chief for Harry Sherman Productions. According to files in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, Joseph I. Breen, Director of the PCA, wrote to Sherman on May 3, 1937, warning him against scenes in the script that might be deleted by state and local censor boards. They included: the "showing or indication of the use of a shoulder holster," "gruesomeness as to the body of Keno," "scenes of outlaws lighting fuses" [should be indicated, not shown], "scenes of cattle being branded, and any agonized sounds of pain" [should be indicated, not shown], the horse falling, indicating that it has been shot [objected to on the basis of cruelty to animals], and "gruesomeness as to Blackie being shot." Further objections were made to the "wholesale slaughter" of the "heavies," all of whom "are either shot and killed or killed by the explosion of the dynamite." Breen recommended that "a considerable number of the heavies be captured with the indication that they will be turned over to officers of the law for trial and punishment." On July 27, 1937, the film was viewed by the PCA, but was not approved until 11 Aug, after which Sherman had deleted a shot showing actual branding of cattle, a shot of a falling horse, and a closeup of the chief shooting Blackie, which was "especially important in view of the fact that [Sherman] did not see fit to follow [Breen's] recommendation suggesting that fewer heavies be killed...and the importance of emphasizing the sanctity of human life in the minds of the audience." Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Frank Ellis, Artie Ortego, Ben Corbett and Blackjack Ward. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy above.