Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Though officially based on a Saturday Evening Post story by Clarence Buddington Kelland, RKO Radio's Valley of the Sun was obviously inspired by the blockbuster comedy western Destry Rides Again (indeed, both films were directed by George Marshall). James Craig stars as Indian scout Jonathan, whose pro-Native American sentiments do not rest well with crooked civilian Indian agent Jim Sawyer (Dean Jagger), who intends to benefit from an impending tribal uprising. Court-martialed on a trumped-up charge fomented by Sawyer, Jonathan escapes the stockade with the help of a friendly sergeant and rides off to Washington DC, hoping to forestall an all-out Indian war. En route, he makes the acquaintance of Sawyer's snooty fiancee Christine (Lucille Ball), forcing her into a marriage for plot reasons too complicated to go into here. After juggling comedy and melodrama for nearly eight reels, the film turns serious towards the climax, when the fate of the protagonists falls into the hands of level-headed Indian chieftan Cochise (Antonio Moreno) and his hotheaded rival Geronimo (Tom Tyler). RKO's first big-budget western in several years, Valley of the Sun lost $158,000 at the box office, temporarily discouraging any followups.
army, federal-agent, Native-American, romance, scout, uprising