(aka "The Lone Rider")
Columbia Pictures Corporation of California
Production Dates: November 10 - 23, 1937
Release Date: 1938 02 12
Running time: 61 minutes (6 reels)
Key book (production) number: 301
Location: Juaregui Ranch
"Cattle Raiders" is the third in the list of contract Columbia / Charles Starrett movies in which Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers were in charge of all the singing and songwriting under the direction of Morris Stoloff. In this film, Bob Nolan wrote all the songs. He also had a substantial part near the end of the movie, well-acted and believable. Donald Grayson was still second lead to Charles Starrett so he sang all the solos. The Pioneers had more experience in movies now and this film is a lot of fun to watch. It appears to have been a lot of fun to make, too. There is a lot of good-natured repartee and everyone is spontaneous and comfortable in each part. "Cattle Raiders" is available on DVD.
Charles Starrett as Tom Reynolds, Allen Brook as Steve Reynolds and Edward LeSaint as John Reynolds
Donald Grayson as Slim Grayson and Iris Meredith as his sister, Nancy.
Dick Curtis as Ed Munro, Eddie Cobb as Burke and George Chesebro as Brand
Steve Clark as Hank, Ed Coxen as Doc Connors and Art Mix as Keno
Others in the cast:
Clem Horton as Slash
2. Happy Cowboy (Bob Nolan)
3. Welcome to the Spring (Bob Nolan)
4. This ain't the Same Old Range (Bob Nolan)
5. The Devil's Great Grandson (Bob Nolan)
6. Happy Cowboy finale (Bob Nolan)
John Reynolds, the owner of the ranch walks out to enjoy the fun and it appears that the man in the buckboard, Slim, has been his foreman and now he is setting out to develop a ranch of his own.
Mr. Reynolds hands Slim an envelope containing his past wages plus a month more to help him out. Slim protests but is overridden. The cowboys boost him back up onto his buckboard and send him off with their best wishes.
A good-looking but surly young man rides in and tosses the reins of his horse to Bob with a curt, "See to my horse." Bob isn't impressed but takes the horse as Steve, the son of the rancher, stalks into the house. His father remonstrates with him and they discuss the absence of the older son, Tom, wrongfully accused of murder. Now the ranch has fallen onto bad times and Steve has done nothing to correct the problems. Steve stares at his father without comment or expression.
Time passes and Slim drives his pretty eastern-raised sister, Nancy, around to show her the country. When he alights to water the team, the horses spook and run away, knocking him down.
Fortunately, Tom Reynolds is passing and sees what happened.
He stops the runaway, ties Raider to the back of the buckboard, and quickly drives Nancy back to Slim lying unconscious on the ground.
Tom sees immediately that Slim needs a doctor, picks him up and places him in the back of the buckboard then lifts Nancy in to look after her brother.
In town, a fight has started and the townsfolk have called on Ed Munro to stop it. (After the sheriff was killed, Ed Munro unofficially took his place. Tom Reynolds left town about then for other reasons but Munro makes sure that everyone thinks it was because he murdered the sheriff.)
Munro warns the two battling cowboys to leave town then he and his two gunnies, Burke and Brand, return to his office, chuckling. They think it's a great joke that Munro ends up being the law enforcement when he is rustling everyone's cattle.
Steve Reynolds enters the office with a long face and is told to prepare for the rustling of more of his father's cattle. It is apparent that Munro has some sort of hold over him and the boy leaves reluctantly.
As he steps into the street, Steve sees Tom Reynolds arrive at the doctor's office with Slim and Nancy. Steve races back in to tell Munro and Munro sends him out of town then prepares to incite the townsfolk into hanging Tom.
Steve is aware of the danger to his brother, Tom, but is incapable of thinking straight yet.
The doctor examines Slim and reassures Tom and Nancy. Then he calls Tom into a back room and shows him a reward poster. Ed Munro is offering $1,000 for the capture of Tom Reynolds for the murder of Sheriff Hale and the attempted robbery of the City Bank. Tom is astounded and can't understand why he is being fingered for the sheriff's murder. The doctor tells him that his old gun was found at the scene. It is all a mystery to Tom and he'll have to find out who took the gun if he is to escape hanging. He will find it isn't as straightforward as he thinks it is.
Rejoining Slim and Nancy, Tom sees Slim has recovered and finds out for the first time that he has a ranch of his own. Tom is delighted and congratulates him.
Coincidentally, Munro has been haranguing the crowd and they are in an ugly mood as they move down the street to "arrest" him. Munro says he doesn't want any violence and then, contradicting himself, urges them to shoot Tom if he shows any fight.
Tom realizes what is happening the minute he steps into the street and waits passively until Burke, under Munro's orders, reaches for Tom's gun then he explodes into action. He knocks Burke down then holds his gun on the crowd.
He orders them to turn their backs and to walk down the street. He fires a shot into the air for emphasis and the crowd moves faster.
Tom mounts Raider and makes a run for it, the crowd behind him spurred on by Munro's "Get him!" Because he had that much head start, Tom is able to get out of their sight for a few seconds and off the trail to hide in the brush. The posse thunders by and Tom turns back on the trail toward his father's ranch, seen by one silent man who never appears again in the film.
As he opens the gate to his father's Lazy R ranch, Tom's face breaks into a huge smile as he sees his younger brother riding toward him.
His brother doesn't appear happy to see him and accuses him of murdering the sheriff. Tom reminds Steve that it was he who had Tom's gun last and, he added, "Someone is going to hang for this but it won't be me."
Tom races down the long driveway and meets Hank at the barn. Warned about the posse, Hank acts as lookout.
Tom's father believes in him and that's really what Tom came back to find out.
Hank warns the two men that the posse is arriving and Tom leaves on the run. Hank, told by Burke that he will be obstructing justice if he doesn't tell where Tom went, points in the opposite direction and the posse thunders off toward the border.
Later that night, the weary and unsuccessful posse rides up to Munro's door and tells him that Munro escaped. Munro quickly makes plans: keep Steve at the herd, keep an eye on him and watch out for Tom's return.
Meanwhile, back on Slim and Nancy's new ranch, the Reynolds crew rides in bringing gifts for Nancy.
Bob has a calf named "Magnolia" across his lap and he presents it to Nancy.
Pat has a "mousetrap" in a box - a kitten.
Lloyd presents her with an "alarm clock" - a young rooster who fluffs himself up and sounds his clarion call.
Tom, riding late into his father's ranch, sees his younger brother sneaking out of the house. Wondering at this clandestine behaviour, Tom hides.
He watches as two men approach Steve in the dark and talk with him. Tom is close enough to hear everything that is said and his heart sinks as he realizes that his kid brother is involved in the rustling of their father's cattle.
After the gifts are given to Slim and Nancy, everyone settles down to sing "Welcome to the Spring".
At the end of the song, they see the white form of Tom Reynold's horse, Raider, bright in the darkness. Worried, they all rise and wait for him.
Tom tells them that he has proof that his brother is in with the rustlers and that they are going to drive his dad's cattle through Latigo Gap tonight and sell them. Slim and the Reynolds crew mount and ride to help him.
At Latigo Gap, the cattle buyer is waiting to take the herd while Tom and his crew are hidden in the bushes, watching.
Because there are so few of them in comparison to the rustler outfit, they just watch and wait until the sale is made. Tom knows who the rustlers are and that he can pick them up any time, so he makes the decision to go after the cattle. After a quick chase, they catch the cattle buyer and his gang and tie them up.
Back in town Munro's men, unaware that the herd has been recaptured, tell their boss that everything went well. Munro orders Steve to stay in town because he wants to talk to him about his brother. This sounds ominous.
Tom and his crew take the rustlers to his father's ranch and lock them up in the saddle shed. Tom's father, worried because Steve didn't come home last night, asks Tom if Steve is involved in the rustling. Tom makes comforting noises and changes the subject then goes to town in search of his young brother.
Tom has arrived in town and, under cover of darkness, he is watching and listening under the open window of Munro's office. Munro is paying off his henchmen but refuses to pay Steve anything because, apparently, Steve owes him a lot already.
Tom hurries over to the doctor's office and enlists his help.
The doctor steps out onto the boardwalk and intercepts Steve as he leaves Munro's office.
Steve walks into the doctor's home and finds Tom behind the door. The doctor waits outside to give the two brothers some privacy.
Steve, initially on the defensive breaks down and tells Tom the whole miserable story. He owed Munro a huge amount in gambling debts and was forced to rob a bank to repay him. During the robbery, the sheriff was shot. There was so much confusion that Steve wasn't sure of anything except the fact that he had Tom's old gun which he must have dropped. He said Munro and his gunnies had seen the whole thing and told him he had shot the sheriff. For some reason, they wanted to let Tom take the blame.
Tom sends Steve back to the Reynolds Ranch and he asks the doctor if he kept the bullet he'd taken from the sheriff's body. He explained to the doctor that there was new scientific evidence that the markings on the bullet could identify the gun from which it was fired. He asked the doctor to label the bullet and keep it safe while he figured out some way to get other bullets for comparison.
Back at the Reynolds Ranch, the cowboys are gathered on the verandah singing "This ain't the Same Old Range".
Hank paces back and forth in front of the saddle shed, checking on the prisoners.
Tom rides up quietly in the shadows and waits until the song is finished and Nancy has accompanied his father back to the house before he tries to approach Slim.
The crew goes to bed and Slim relieves Hank guarding the captives in the saddle shed. Tom beckons Slim to him and quietly tells him that he has seen Steve and now has a lead. He asks if Slim will go into town in the morning with him to follow it up. Of course, Slim agrees. Everything depends on Munro remaining ignorant of just how far his plans have gone awry.
Next morning we find Munro giving instructions to Burke to watch Steve closely because he is convinced that Steve will lead them to Tom. Hidden on the street outside, Slim and Tom are waiting until Munro's henchmen leave him.
On the pretext of getting his old gun back, Tom barges into Munro's office with his gun drawn. Then Tom gives Munro opportunity to go for his gun. They struggle for the gun and Tom forces Munro to fire it into the floor.
The sound of the shot brings Munro's henchmen back.
Tom runs out the back door and exchanges hats with Slim who is already mounted on Raider.
To draw further attention to himself, Slim canters down the street firing into the air. The townsmen flock toward him, mount their horses and the chase is on.
With the coast clear, Tom is able to sneak back into Munro's office and extract the bullet from the floor.
He takes the bullet to Dr. Connors and they examine it under a magnifying glass. There is no doubt. The bullet that killed the sheriff came from Munro's gun.
The posse returns with Slim and he is placed under arrest. Tom and Dr. Connors worry about what might become of him so the good old doctor volunteers to ride to the Reynolds Ranch to collect the crew.
Under the cover of darkness, Doc Connors let the crew in the back door of his quarters where they find Tom Reynolds. Everyone is concerned about Slim's safety but Tom has an idea.
The crew, led by Bob, is to go immediately to see Munro and offer up Tom in trade for Slim.
Munro and Burke are suspicious but willing to risk anything to get their hands on Tom.
Next day, Tom and the crew leave Steve to guard the captives in the saddle shed while they head for town to free Slim. Steve is anxious to redeem himself.
True to his word, Bob and the boys bring an unarmed Tom Reynolds in to town to be jailed.
But the crowd is angry and this gives Munro an excuse to lock up both Tom and Slim. There might be a lynching if he lets Slim go, he mocks.
In that case, Bob decides, he and the boys will remain right there in front of the cell all night.
While Steve guards the captives in the saddle shed, he is unaware that the prisoners have been digging an escape hole under the floor. To cover the sound of the digging, Bland keeps Steve occupied with taunts and threats. He convinces him that he will be hanged with the rest. Steve is overcome with fear for his life and sits down while, unknown to him, the captives escape. Bland goes directly to town to talk with Munro.
In the jailhouse, Tom asks his crew to sing for him and they choose the happy-go-lucky "The Devil's Great Grandson" to the rhythm of Karl's guitar.
Slim takes the first verse and the crew comes in on the chorus.
Young Lloyd sings the second verse.
Bob yanks his hat down over his eyes and sings the third verse.
He can't resist clowning to distract the men behind bars and keep them smiling.
As Bob finishes his verse, he leans against the bars of the cell and strokes them as he would his bass fiddle.
Pat hops up and does a lively tap dance.
Tom gets into the spirit and, since he is tone deaf and can't carry a melody, recites the last verse of the song.
The two guards are playing poker but Keno is obviously enjoying the music, witness his tapping foot.
Munro and Burke step out of the saloon and listen to the singing for a moment and then Bland, the cattle buyer, finds them. Bland puts them in the picture, tells them that Tom kept them captive so they would be witnesses for the prosecution. And, he finishes, Steve is ready to turn state's evidence. Munro is shocked and has to do some quick rethinking. He asks where Steve is now. Bland is sure the boy is still sitting outside the saddle shed.
The next morning the townsfolk assemble in the court house. The two prisoners, Slim and Tom, are brought in handcuffed together.
The judge orders the cuffs removed. Munro announces that he's picked a jury already but the feisty judge glares at him and then chooses his own twelve men. Tom decides to represent himself and Munro is the prosecutor. Tom sits down, quite serene until he catches sight of Brand and his men who he had left under guard in his saddle shed. This means only one thing - Steve has been overpowered. Where was he? Was he alive?
He gets the judge's permission and calls Bob up to make him aware that the prisoners have escaped and that Steve must be in danger.
Bob suggests that Tom ask for a delay and Tom orders him to get the men to stand by and to be ready for anything. Bob talks to the crew and leaves the room to search for Steve.
The trial proceeds and Munro calls his witness, Burke, who tells the jury that he saw Tom break into the bank and gun down the sheriff in cold blood. Munro asks him to identify the gun. Tom listens quietly.
When it's Tom's turn to question the witness, he asked him if he delivered a herd to Brand and if Brand had paid Munro for it. He refuses to answer. Munro causes a ruckus and gets fined for contempt of court. The question is forgotten. Over his vociferous objections, Tom manages to question Munro who also claimed to witness the killing.
He gets Munro to make a sure identity of the gun then he calls Doctor Connors and asks for the bullet that had killed Sheriff Hale from him.
The judge listens curiously as Tom attempts to show that the two bullets were fired from the same gun but everyone objects. No one believes in this modern forensic stuff. There is no possible way to tell from a bullet which gun fired it. The judge asks Tom if he doesn't have any better evidence or a witness.
Tom, with Steve's non-appearance, has no witness but he asks if he can speak to the jury. He tells them that the night of the murder he wasn't in this county. He'd asked for a stay of trial until his witness showed up but it was refused. His evidence was ridiculed. All that was left was to place himself at their mercy. The prejudiced jury didn't believe him and brought in a verdict of guilty. The crowd is delirious. When the judge gets order once more, he asks Tom to face the court for his sentence. Just as the judge is about to speak, Steve bursts into the room, followed by Bob who yells Tom's name.
Steve had been ambushed and left for dead. Munro objects because the verdict was already decided. The judge overruled both the objection and the verdict and asks Tom to present the new evidence.
Tom explains that his brother is in danger and he asks the judge's permission to have his men guard him. Granted. The judge asks Steve to give his evidence.
Steve describes how he had lost money in a card game and borrowed heavily from Munro. Munro had forced him at gunpoint to attempt to rob a bank in order to repay him. Munro's gang would stand guard for him. The sheriff finds him trying to get into the bank and the two struggle for Steve's gun. The gun goes off and several shots are fired in the confusion. The sheriff falls, dead. Steve's gun falls to the ground. Tom gets permission to tell the rest of the story the way it really happened. Munro objects loudly but is overruled once more. Munro had shoved Steve toward the bank that night and gave him the combination to the safe and the key to the bank door. Puzzled, Steve asked him how he came to be in possession of the keys and Munro told him to never mind.
Munro and two of his gunnies stood across the street, ready to shoot him if he didn't go through with the robbery. Unexpectedly the sheriff came along the boardwalk and Munro was afraid Steve would talk so, when Steve's gun went off, someone else shot the sheriff. When Tom gets this far in his story, the judge asks who did kill the sheriff.
Tom brings out the bullets once more and shows how the markings of the two bullets are the same, proving, he says, that Munro killed Sheriff Hale.
Desperate now, Munro pulls his gun on Tom but Bob shoots Munro in the shoulder.
The judge calms the room once more and orders Munro and his men jailed. The case against Tom is dismissed. The film ends with the jubilant crew singing "Happy Cowboy" as they ride out of town.
Pat Brady, Lloyd Perryman, Donald Grayson, Hugh Farr, Bob Nolan and Karl Farr
Courtesy of the Roy Rogers Family Trust
Charles Starrett on Raider
Courtesy of Buddy Bryant
Courtesy of Buddy Bryant
Courtesy of Buddy Bryant
Charles Starrett, Ed Coxen, Donald Grayson, and Iris Meredith
Courtesy of Bruce Hickey
Charles Starrett, Iris Meredith, Pat Brady, Karl Farr, Donald Grayson, Lloyd Perryman, Hugh Farr and Bob Nolan
Courtesy of John Fullerton
Gunmen: Charles Starrett, Donald Grayson and Bob Nolan
Courtesy of John Fullerton
Charles Starrett, Iris Meredith and Donald Grayson
Bob Nolan, George Chesebro, ?, Hugh Farr, Charles Starrett and Lloyd Perryman
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Charles Starrett, Edward LeSaint, Iris Meredith, Donald Grayson, Steve Clark, Pat Brady, Lloyd Perryman, Hugh Farr, Bob Nolan and ?
Courtesy of John Fullerton
Courtesy of Jan Scott
1938 09 09 Big Spring, Texas