Lay That Rifle Down


1h 11m 1955

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 7, 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m

Synopsis

In order to pay the mortgage and taxes on a farm she inherited, orphan Judy Canova works hard at the Greebville hotel owned by her unappreciative Aunt Sarah Greeb. In addition to appreciating the farm's sentimental value, Judy is determined to keep it so that three orphans being cared for by taxi driver Mr. Fetcher can have a place to live. Because Judy is taking a charm school correspondence course, she receives frequent letters, which piques the interest of her impudent cousins, Tweeny and Betty Greeb, and Betty's beau Horace Speckleton, the son of Glover, the manager of the Greebville Bank. When they tease her about having a boyfriend, Judy makes up a story about a rich admirer, Poindexter March, III, whom she plans to meet later that day at the bus depot of a neighboring town. Hoping to catch Judy in a lie, Betty suggests that they all drive Judy to meet Poindexter's bus. While the others wait in the car, Judy approaches Nick Stokes, a stranger exiting the bus, and, after explaining the situation, asks him to pretend to know her. Exceeding her wishes, Nick kisses her passionately, and then buys them drinks at the soda shop, where he spins a tale about owning a cattle ranch and an oil field. Later, Nick secretly meets his associate, whom he calls "Professor," and suggests that they implement their "plan" in Greebville. Still posing as "Poindexter," Nick checks in at the Greebville Hotel. When Tweeny is sent by Sarah to fetch Judy, she is frightened by the sight of Judy applying "glamorous" face cream according to the instructions given in her charm school lesson. To avoid frightening anyone else, Judy climbs out the window and over the ledge to another room, where she removes the cream from her face before greeting Nick in the lobby. At Nick's invitation, Judy rides in his convertible and shows him Canova County, which was named for her formerly prosperous family. Nick makes her promise never to sell her farm without consulting him, but when Judy asks what his real name is, he becomes evasive. Meanwhile, the Professor, calling himself Gen. Chevington Ballard of the U.S. Army, meets with Glover in confidence to explain that the area has been selected as a site for a "vital war plant." After Nick tells Professor about Judy's land, the latter tells Glover that the government will pay up to $50,000 for Judy's farm, if it can be acquired by the following Wednesday, and asks the bank manager to oversee the land sale. Glover and Sarah, planning to split the $50,000 between them, try to force Judy to hand over her farm without compensation, and when Judy refuses, Sarah fires her. Nick advises Judy not to sell unless offered $25,000. After she moves back to the farm, Glover and Sarah offer her a few hundred dollars for her land, but Judy refuses. Afterward, Sarah is bitten in the rump by the orphans' pet turtle. When Glover threatens to have the welfare board take the orphans from Fetcher, Nick overhears the threat and tells Judy not to give in. The next day, after Professor tells Glover that the sale must be finalized, Glover offers Judy $25,000 and she accepts. However, Nick calls off his deal with Professor, explaining that he wants Judy to keep the money. After tying Nick up in the car, Professor tricks Judy into writing a check for the amount of the sale by telling her that Nick has come on hard times and needs a loan. Unaware that the bound and gagged Nick has managed to escape from the car, Professor drives to town and sends Glover and Sarah to the farm to complete the sale. After they leave, he proceeds to the bank to cash Judy's check and the elderly teller begins counting out the money in twenty-dollar bills. At the farm, Sarah and Glover realize they have been swindled when Judy tells them she wrote a check for $25,000 to Profesor. When Nick, who has been found by the orphans, confirms their suspicions, they all race to town hoping to stop Professor. After grabbing the shotgun from the mantle, Fetcher and Judy take a short cut and get to town first, just as Professor is driving off with his sack of money. Unaware that the orphans have overloaded the shotgun with buckshot, Judy fires at him and the subsequent explosion turns his car into a pile of rubble. The sheriff then arrests Nick and Professor and, realizing that the government will not buy the land, Sarah and Glover return it to Judy. As the crowd disperses, an oil company representative offers Judy $100,000 for the oil rights to her farm, which is enough money for her to retain her land and live there comfortably with the orphans.


Film Details

Release Date
Jul 7, 1955
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 11m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The character "Tweeny," who roller-skates in the hotel in several scenes, was played by Judy Canova's oldest daughter.