Heart of the Golden West (1942)

Genres - Comedy, Western  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy Western, Musical Western  |   Run Time - 65 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Roy Rogers saves the day for the ranchers of Cherokee City in this fast-paced comedy-Western directed and produced by Joseph Kane. Roy and no less than three sidekicks -- Smiley Burnette, George "Gabby" Hayes and Bob Nolan of the music group The Sons of the Pioneers -- attempt to persuade eccentric river-boat owner Col. Silas Popen (Walter Catlett) to service Cherokee City. The surrounding ranchers would otherwise be forced to ship their cattle with crooked trucking company operator Ross Lambert (Edmund MacDonald). Aware of the colonel's phobia of anything Western, Lambert and his henchmen (William Haade and Hal Taliaferro) stage typical Wild West brawls, helped inadvertently by Roy's well-meaning sidekicks. Burnette, whom Rogers inherited from draftee Gene Autry, and Hayes perform their usual routines but the comedic highlights are provided by flibbertigibbet Catlett and blustery Paul Harvey, the latter playing B-Western history's perhaps most incompetent Cattlemen's Association president. Ruth Terry makes a spirited heroine as the colonel's daughter but the great African-American actor Leigh Whipper is sadly wasted in a stereotypical "comic" servant role. A proposed action scene in which Lambert and his men start a fire using gasoline was rewritten in order to avoid reminding theater-goers of the war-time rationing. In most prints seen today, Rogers' musical numbers have been cut, making Heart of the West a fast-paced hour or so of nearly non-stop action and comedy.

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Keywords

cattle, henchman, rancher, riverboat, sidekick