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Hands Across the Border

 

Republic Pictures Corporation

Production Dates: August 16 - mid-September 1943

Release Date: 1944 01 05

Running time: 72-73 minutes (8 reels)

Key book (production) number: 1227

Location: Lone Pine

 

Many thanks to Bob Serkey, OJ Sikes and Bob Costa for extracting and cleaning the tracks; and to Fred Sopher for the video clip. Donors of images are credited below the pictures.

 

Credits
Cast
Songs
Plot Summary
Production and Publicity Stills

        • Caren Marsh

Posters

Sheet Music

 

        "Hands Across the Border" is Herbert Yates' first serious venture into Broadway-like productions with a 13-minute all-cast finale including several guest acts. It is also the first time that Bob Nolan worked under a choreographer. Bob was rather awkward and forgot to lip sync in the finale because he was concentrating on his foot work. This film is a far cry from the hard riding cowboy parts with which he was familiar.

        The secondary story line is the competition between two horse ranches, both desiring the Army contract for mounts. The first is the struggle of an itinerant cowboy to save the life of a beautiful stallion who had caused the accidental death of his owner.

         The Sons of the Pioneers are usually somewhere in most scenes but they have very little dialogue. From the production stills of this film came the photo of Bob Nolan that has become a favorite. This picture was originally a photo of Bob and Roy sitting on a bench, part of a scene in the movie. Some observant person in the studio realized that this photo perfectly portrayed Bob's personality and had it cropped and distributed as a single. This movie is available on DVD.

 

Credits

 

Cast:

 

Left: Roy Rogers as himself and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams as Teddy Bear

Right: Ruth Terry as Kim Adams

 

Left: Bob Nolan & the Sons of the Pioneers as themselves

Right: LeRoy Mason as Sheriff Mac Barclay

 

Left: Joseph Crehan as Jeff Adams, Mary Treen as Sophie Lawrence and Onslow Stevens as Brock Danvers

Right: Duncan Renaldo as Juan Morales

 

Left: Janet Martin as Rosita Morales

Right: The Wiere Brothers

 

Songs:

Hands Across the Border (Ned Washington-w, Hoagy Carmichael-m)
When Your Heart’s on Easy Street (Phil Ohman / Ned Washington)
Hey! Hey! (It’s a Great Day?) (Ned Washington-w, Phil Ohman-m)
The Girl With the High Button Shoes (Ned Washington-w, Phil Ohman-m)
Hands Across the Border - Roy and the Pioneers
Dreaming to Music (Ned Washington-w, Phil Ohman-m) oy to Ruth on horseback.
Ay, Nalisco, No Te Rajes! (Ernesto M. Cortazar-w, Manuel Esperon-m)
Medley of Hands Across the Border, Girl With the High Button Shoes, When Your Heart’s on Easy Street, and Ay, Nalisco
 

Plot Summary:

 

        The story opens on an out-of-work and down-at-heels Roy Rogers riding through rocks singing "When Your Heart's on Easy Street".

 

 

        As he jogs along he reads two signs that don't seem to affect his mood at all.

 

 

        He rides through a stream, waters his horse and loosens the cinch, unaware that trouble is sneaking up on him.

 

 

        A shabby cowboy holds Roy up and demands his horse. A posse is after him, he says, and he's a mean grizzly bear. Roy is careful but soon realizes that the stranger is more of a teddy bear than a grizzly - and ignores him.

 

 

        Teddy Bear throws down his gun in frustration, grabs Roy and pulls him off his horse. They are going at it tooth and nail when the sheriff and posse ride up.

 

 

        The sheriff compliments Roy on capturing Teddy Bear and tells him he'll be able to collect a reward. Roy denies capturing him and says they are friends, thereby sealing his own fate. The sheriff is a sour book man and is prepared to arrest them both for vagrancy. He orders Teddy Bear to get up behind Roy and they start off for jail.

 

 

        As they are jogging toward jail, Roy overhears members of the posse talk about the party at the Adams Ranch. He decides to try masquerading as an entertainer and tells the sheriff they'd been hired by the Adams Ranch. Teddy Bear, he says, is good with horses. The sheriff, plainly disbelieving, goes along with it because he doesn't want to miss the party himself. They turn toward the Adams Ranch.

 

 

        At the Adams Ranch, the Sons of the Pioneers make an entrance on a horse-drawn float and pull up to the balcony singing, "Hey, Hey". The owner stands watching the show with his daughter, Kim, and Kim's friend, Sophie. Kim, a Broadway actress, is back home for a few week's holiday.

 

 

        Her father talks Kim into singing "The Girl with the High Button Shoes" with the Sons of the Pioneers joining in.

 

 

        Brock Danvers rides in, hands the reins of his beautiful horse to one of the Wiere Brothers, who hands them to his brother who in turn hands them to the third brother. This brother nods politely to the horse and gives the reins back to Danvers who, searching the crowd for Kim, takes them absent mindedly.

 

 

        Mr. Adams notices Brock and they chat about the Army contract that the younger man has held for five years. Mr. Adams is certain that the excellence of the herd he has now will be the means of winning the contract for himself and paying off all his debts, including the large one to Danvers.

 

 

        Brock assures Mr. Adams that the debt does not worry him. At last, Brock's search is rewarded and he sees Kim dancing with the ranch foreman, Juan. Brock cuts in and it isn't long before he tries to persuade Kim to marry him. It is apparent from her smiling refusal that this is nothing new and that Kim is not unhappy with his perseverance. From their conversation, we learn that Brock is a rich man used to getting his own way. Right about then, the sheriff arrives, bringing Roy and Teddy Bear into the plaza with him.     

 

 

        The Sheriff takes Roy over to where the Pioneers are seated on bales of hay and orders him to sing. Roy walks right past Kim, whom he had assured the skeptical sheriff he knows well. Desperately hoping he'll know the song they're playing, he gets up on the float. The Sons of the Pioneers make room for him and he sings "Hands Across the Border".

 

 

        The audience is appreciative and Roy's confidence increases as he passes smiling faces. Danvers and Kim walk up to congratulate him.

 

 

        Now Roy manages to make a real faux pas. In front of Kim, oblivious to her identity, he tells the sheriff that now he is going to look for Kim Adams. The sheriff is quick on the uptake and says he will take them to jail. Danvers agrees but Kim is intrigued and pleads for them.

 

 

        She hires Roy and Teddy Bear as horse wranglers, introduces them to Juan who tells her that the government buyer has arrived. They walk out to take a look at the horses.

 

 

        Their attention is drawn to a wild stallion,  a palomino named Trigger, in a corral by himself. Brock bets Mr. Adams that he can't ride him. Adams, a plump, elderly man takes the bet.

 

 

        Mr. Adams stops for a moment to talk with Roy. He reminds Roy that a fine horse is a gentleman and to treat him that way - with respect.

 

 

        Teddy Bear and Roy are ordered to saddle Trigger, which they do with difficulty. Mr. Adams makes a good ride until Trigger jumps a fence. The cinch snaps. Adams falls off and breaks his neck. The horse runs away.

 

 

        In the bunkhouse, Roy, the Pioneers and Juan are discussing the accident and Brock's part in it.

 

 

        They are interrupted by a whinny and run out to find Trigger has opened the corral gate and is helping himself to a mare or two.

 

 

        Teddy Bear ropes him and Roy jumps on Teddy Bear's back to add his weight while Trigger drags them around the corral. Kim and Brock, attracted by all the noise, come out of the house.

 

 

        As Roy puts Trigger back into his little corral, Brock returns back to the house for his gun. In Brock's opinion, Trigger must be put to death immediately. The rest of the men wonder if he wants Trigger's death to please Kim or if he is worried that the golden stallion might improve the Adams herd and threaten his own army contracts.

 

 

        Because it is Danvers who is making the arbitrary decision to shoot the horse, Roy asks him if he is running the ranch. Kim, agonizing over her father's death and inclined to blame the horse, admits she knows nothing about operating a horse ranch. Roy defies Brock as he raises his rifle. Roy asks Kim if she has ever watched a horse being shot. All she can think of is that this horse was responsible for the death of her father. Roy lets her know what her father had said to him just before he died, "A fine horse is a gentleman." Kim is uncertain, unwilling now to kill the horse if her father had felt that way about it. With a little persuasion from Juan, she decides to let Trigger live. Everyone is relieved but Brock who determines to put Trigger to death.

 

 

        Brock gets the Sons of the Pioneers together and they go horse hunting.

 

 

        They spot Trigger but he is swept up with the wild bunch before Brock can get a bead on him. The Pioneers cheer silently behind his back. Out of Brock's view, Roy ropes Trigger and he, Teddy Bear and Juan hide him in the hills.

 

 

        Next day, it is apparent that Brock is still attempting to buy the ranch and he persuades Kim that it is the only sensible thing to do.

 

 

        Kim gets the men together and tells them that Brock is buying the ranch. They say nothing but all walk out quietly.

 

 

        Juan is disappointed that Kim is giving up so easily and that she won't be there for the fiesta which has been a tradition between the Americans and Mexicans for a long time. Roy assures Juan he'll talk Kim into it but he has no luck, either. At the same time he lets her know that her father would have been disappointed in her.

 

 

        During a traditional fiesta there is music and dancing as the Mexican families gather on the ranch.

 

 

        The patrone thanks Kim for carrying on and, flustered because she knows she had not intended to carry on, she was speechless. Roy urged her to say just "thank you" and somehow she finds she is going to stay, after all.

 

 

        Later that day, the hands round up all the horses, corral them and begin their training.  Kim, Juan and her friend watch from her car.

 

 

        They see Teddy Bear and Roy ride away quietly  and Kim wonders aloud where they go to every afternoon. Sophie tells her that they go out into the desert to train Trigger. Shocked, Kim determines to see for herself. In her car she has a ringside seat and watches Roy put Trigger through his paces and some extraordinary stunts.

 

 

        When the men realize they've been discovered, Roy asks Kim to clock Trigger. She is impressed.

 

 

        Roy puts Trigger through a few tricks and, as a grand finale, jumps him over the car, occupants and all. When she sees how fast he is, Kim allows Roy to race him for her. Trigger gives her a kiss and then nudges Roy from behind until he falls into her arms.

 

 

        That night, Brock makes another attempt at persuading Kim to marry him. Roy deliberately interrupts them. Next day the race for the army contract begins over some of the roughest ground imaginable.

 

 

 

        Bob Nolan is bucked from his horse early in the race.

 

 

        Dynamite explosions, fire, and other conditions simulating war are used. No holds are barred because this race for the contract, too, is war so Roy unbuckles the cinch on one horse and pushes another rider off. He is similarly abused.

 

 

        Only two horses finish and Trigger wins by a small margin.

 

 

        Kim is handed the contract. Juan reminds her that her father would have been proud of her.

 

 

        She invites the contractor to stay for the celebrations which turn out be be an extravaganza with the Mexican families and the ranch hands all participating. The celebration includes the Sons of the Pioneers and other celebrities. The film concludes with a 13-minute show with dancing and singing, both Mexican and American.

 

 

        The Pioneers do their part with good grace - and a modicum of awkwardness.

 

 

 

Production and Publicity Stills

 

Courtesy of Elisabeth

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of John Fullerton

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Calin Coburn Collection ©2004

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Fraser Sandercombe

 

Karl E. Farr Collection

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

Caren Marsh and her book, "Hollywood's Babe"

(Thanks to Fred Sopher)

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Photo from eBay

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Photo from eBay.com

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 


 

Posters

 

Calin Coburn Collections ©2004

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 


 

Sheet Music