Cast & Crew
"little Joe" Hiser
Rancher Bill White accepts neighbor Craig Morgan's bet of five hundred head of cattle that his ranch hands will win more points than Bill's at an upcoming rodeo. Bill's niece, Peggy Andrews, thinks that the wager is foolhardy in view of the fact that a payment on the ranch is due and that they have no chance of winning. However, when Peggy learns that Spade Cooley, the famous Western movie actor, is to be the guest star at the rodeo, she thinks she can persuade him to join their team. Meanwhile, as Spade and his stunt double, Walt Banning, are driving to the area, Spade confesses that he is ashamed of fooling the public, which is unaware that someone else provides his singing voice and Walt does his stunts because he is afraid of horses. Walt is also unhappy and wants to quit. When they run out of gas, they walk to Bill's ranch, where they are invited to stay during the rodeo. Morgan then rides up with a written version of the bet and recognizes Walt as a rival from a previous rodeo. To needle Spade, Walt suggests that Spade ride for Bill's team, but Spade claims to have a back injury and nominates Walt. Later, Walt visits Morgan's ranch and reveals that he does Spade's stunts and that, for a price, he can arrange for Spade and him to leave, thus allowing Morgan to win. That night, Spade "serenades" Peggy, who is unaware that he is mouthing to a phonograph recording being played by Walt. After Peggy explains that her uncle needs to win the cattle to pay off the ranch, Spade assures her that Walt will do a good job for her. Spade then decides to overcome his fear of horses and take riding lessons, but after Walt puts him on a spirited horse, three of Morgan's men spook the animal and it gallops away. Morgan's men pursue Spade, who manages to knock one of them off his horse while the other two knock each other out. Bill thinks Spade accomplished all this by himself and is impressed. Morgan, on the other hand, slugs Walt for misleading him about Spade's ability. Soon after, Spade confesses to Bill that the day's events were accidents and that he is a complete phony. When Bill learns that Walt is going to be riding for Morgan, he attempts to coach the inept Spade. Later, one of Morgan's men leads Peggy into a trap to prevent her from competing in the rodeo by telling her that Spade has been injured. The rodeo begins with bucking bull and bronco competitions, but there is no sign of Peggy or Spade. After learning where Peggy is being held, Spade rides there with ranch hand "Tortilla," and overpowers her captors, then heads with her to the rodeo. Walt's team is doing well but in the final event, which involves two wild horses, Morgan is given Cyclone to ride while Spade is assigned to T.N.T., a horse that has stomped a man to death. Morgan shoots ahead on points, but Bill can still win if Spade shows up and can manage to stay on T.N.T. Spade and Peggy arrive at the last moment but Morgan's men try to stop him from reaching the chute. However, Spade inadvertently mounts T.N.T. and somehow manages to stay on for the required time and wins the bet for Bill. Spade and Walt then get into a fistfight, which Spade wins. With the money from the sale of Morgan's cattle, Bill pays off the mortgage on the ranch and swears he will never bet again. Spade and Peggy look forward to a happy future together.
"little Joe" Hiser
J. R. Camomile
Dr. Brewster M. Higley
Arthur A. Jacobs
The viewed print bore a 1947 copyright claim by Oliver Drake Productions but the film does not appear in the Copyright Catalog. Although the PCA certificate was granted in November 1949, a modern source states that the film was completed in 1947, as the copyright statement indicates, and lists the picture's running time as fifty-six minutes. The footage listed in the film's MPAA/PCA file at the AMPAS Library indicates a running time of around fifty minutes, as does the footage registered by the NYSA. However, the viewed print ran sixty-three minutes. No reviews have been located for the film. According to Drake's autobiography, many scenes were shot at his ranch near Pearblossom, CA and the rodeo material was shot at a rodeo at Ridgecrest, CA. Drake also stated that Dick Farnsworth doubled for Spade Cooley in the rodeo sequence and that Bob Woodward and Boyd Stockman worked as stuntmen.
"Gower Gulch" is the nickname of the area surrounding the intersection of Sunset and Gower in Hollywood, CA. The area was a gathering place for stuntmen and Western actors from the 1920s through the 1950s.