Beautifully restored to its original theatrical length of 84 minutes by the Gene Autry Foundation, Melody Ranch is a bright, tuneful, and at times quite action-packed piece of B-Western extravaganza, Republic style. The victim of both a drop in ratings and a tardy leading lady, radio star Gene Autry is only too happy to oblige when old friend Pop Laramie (George "Gabby" Hayes) proposes that he return to his hometown of Torpedo as honorary sheriff during the upcoming Frontier Day celebration. With leading lady Julie Shelton (Ann Miller), city slicker announcer Cornelius Courtney (Jimmy Durante), and bemused sponsor Tommy Summerville (Jerome Cowan) in tow, Gene takes Torpedo by storm. That is, everyone except the Wildhack brothers (Barton MacLane, Joe Sawyer, and Horace MacMahon), old enemies who take umbrage to Gene's lampooning them on his daily broadcast. Julie, meanwhile, falls in love with the Wild and Woolly West in general and Gene in particular, and when the crooner proposes to leave show business and run for the office of sheriff for real, she decides to stay as well. The Wildhack brothers, meanwhile, attempt to sabotage the election, but Gene and his pals persevere against the odds. Produced at a cost of 500,000 dollars, Melody Ranch was the first Autry Western to be booked into first-run theaters, which had been Republic Pictures' goal all along. Autry, Ann Miller, Jimmy Durante, Mary Lee, and Bob Wills and His Playboys perform "Melody Ranch," "We Never Dream the Same Dream Twice," "Call of the Canyon," "My Gal Sal," "Torpedo Joe," "What Cowboys Are Made Of," and "Rodeo Rose," all by Jule Styne and Eddie Cherkose, and a good time is had by all.
by Hans J. Wollstein synopsis