Moonlight on the Prairie (1936)

Genres - Western  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Western  |   Release Date - Nov 2, 1935 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 63 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Dusting off a couple of old Ken Maynard Western plots -- already recycled once with John Wayne in the early 1930s -- Warner Bros. jumped on the singing cowboy band wagon with a series starring baritone Dick Foran (formerly Nick Foran. The opener, Moonlight on the Prairie was filmed on glorious locations at California's June Lake and featured a good supporting cast that included future Western hero William "Wild Bill" Elliott (here billed Gordon Elliott) as an agent for the ubiquitous Cattlemen's Association. Foran himself played Ace Andrews, a Wild West Show performer falsely accused of murdering rancher Butch Roberts. Butch's estranged wife, now his widow, Barbara (Sheila Mannors), and young son have until midnight to take over the ranch or lose it to nasty Luke Thomas (Joe Sawyer and crooked lawyer Buck Cantwell (Robert Barrat). After a scheme to delay Barbara and little Dickie (Dickie Jones) is foiled by Ace and his escape artist sidekick "Small Change" (George E. Stone), Luke and his motley crew engage in a bit of cattle rustling. Ace, who has already proven Cantwell to be Butch's real killer, successfully leads the sheriff's posse to victory and soon both Thomas and Cantwell are apprehended. Foran, whose inclination to shout every line was tempered in subsequent entries, found time between fightin' and shootin' to warble Covered Wagon Days and Moonlight on the Prairie, both composed and written by M.K. Jerome, Joan Jasmyn, Vernon Spencer and Bob Nolan. Foran's horse, Smokey, earned second billing ahead of leading lady Sheila Mannors, a brunette beauty who also spelled her last name "Manners" on occasion. Miss Mannors/Manners would attempt to escape an increasing list of B-Westerns by changing her moniker to Sheila Bromley in the 1940s.

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Keywords

killing, cowboy, employment, false-accusation, investigation, medical, medicine-show, meeting, moonlight, murder, prairie, ranch, rodeo, search, show, son, widow/widower