The Strawberry Roan


1h 19m 1948

Brief Synopsis

Young Joe is paralyzed as he is bucked by a wild horse, a strawberry roan. Angered, his father, Walt, tries to shoot the horse but is stopped by his foreman, Gene Autry. The roan escapes and Autry, told to leave the ranch by Walt, finds and trains the horse, now named Champ, in hopes that by returning it to Joe it will provide him with the will to overcome his disability.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 15 Jul 1948
Production Company
Gene Autry Productions
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Cinecolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

When the cowboys of the Bar B ranch capture a magnificent wild roan stallion, Joe Bailey, the owner's son, asks his father Walt to let him keep the horse, which he names Champ. While trying to break the stallion, Joe is thrown and trampled by the terrified horse. When the doctor declares that Joe may be crippled for life, Walt decides to kill his son's attacker, but Gene Autry, the ranch foreman, aided by Joe's sister, Connie, frees the steed. Walt and the ranchhands pursue the stallion, and when they corner him on a high cliff, he leaps rather than be captured again. Climbing down to the foot of the cliff, Gene locates the injured horse and dresses his wounds. Back at the Bar B, Gene learns that Joe has lost his will to recover and tries to instill confidence in the boy. In the valley below the cliff, Gene builds a corral for the injured horse and nurses him back to health, eventually making friends with him. Once Champ is fully recovered, Gene returns him to the wilds to assume his position as leader of the herd. One day, Champ appears at the ranch, lifting Joe's spirits. When Walt tries to capture the horse, Gene mounts him and gallops off and Connie's mare Sweetheart follows them. As soon as Gene returns to the ranch riding Sweetheart, Walt orders him to return the roan. Gene refuses, and Walt fires him and accuses him of rustling. After Gene tells Connie that Joe's dream of riding Champ is the motivation he needs to walk again, Connie gives Gene Sweetheart. Months later, Walt posts a reward for Gene and the roan. During that period, Gene breaks Champ to the saddle, and Sweetheart and Champ fall in love. One day, Sweetheart, now in foal, is chased by wolves and jumps into an icy lake and falls ill from exposure. When Gene goes to the ranch for medicine, he is spotted by Walt, who then forms a posse to pursue him. Connie and Joe follow in a wagon, and the posse closes in on Gene just as Connie arrives to help deliver Sweetheart's colt. After Connie beseeches Gene to escape before her father can apprehend him, Gene promises to leave after completing one last task. Gene rides Champ to the wagon in which Joe is waiting for Connie, leaves the horse with the boy and walks away. Overcoming his fear, Joe mounts the stallion and gallops off. Just then, Walt sights the horse, and thinking that the rider is Gene, fires his gun, wounding Joe. Gene follows in the wagon and informs Walt that he has shot his own son. Realizing what a fool he has been, Walt asks Gene to return to the ranch as foreman. Joe, who is only slightly wounded, then gives Champ to Gene, declaring that he will train Champ's colt.

Film Details

Release Date
Aug 1948
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 15 Jul 1948
Production Company
Gene Autry Productions
Distribution Company
Columbia Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 19m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Cinecolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film's end credits include the following written acknowledgment: "This picture was made under the supervision and with the cooperation of the American Humane Association." This was Gene Autry's first color musical western under his independent production contract with Columbia. Some scenes were filmed in Sedona and Flagstaff, AZ.