Home on the Range
(aka "West of God's Country")
Republic Pictures Corporation
Production Dates: late November - early December 1945
Release Date: 1946 04 18
Running time: 55 minutes
Key book (production) number: 1585
Location: Chatsworth Lake
tell you how I got into Home on the Range, my first starring picture. They wrote
a picture for me called Don’t Fence Me In. It was to have all of Roy’s [Rogers]
cast in it: Gabby Hayes, Dale Evans, The Sons of the Pioneers—the whole bunch.
This was when they thought Roy was going into the Army. They wrote it for me and
gave me the script. I learned every part in it. I studied that script day and
night. Then one day they called me up to the office and told me Roy was not goin’
into the service and I wasn’t goin’ to make the movie, that Roy wanted to make
Gordon Forster (Tim Spencer), and his brother Glenn Spencer are responsible for most of the songs. Ken Carson sings his own composition, "Over the Rainbow Trail", with the Sons of the Pioneers. Bob has some dialogue and even takes part in a square dance with obvious enjoyment.
Home on the Range has some surprisingly violent scenes when you consider that most of the viewers would be children. Although the brutality happens off-camera, the viewer knows that small calves and two men are being savaged or eaten by a bear.
Left: Monte Hale as Monte Hale and Adrian Booth (Lorna Gray) as Bonnie Garth
Right: Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers
Left: Tom Chatterton as William Jennings "Grizzly" Garth
Right: Robert "Bobby" Blake as "Cub" Garth
Left: LeRoy Mason as Dan Long
Right: Roy Barcroft as Clint Baker and Kenne Duncan as Slim Wallace
Other in the cast:
Budd Buster as Sheriff Cutier
Jack Kirk as Rancher Benson
John Hamilton as a Stateman
Monte Hale rides through beautiful lake county to Ken Carson's whistled introduction to "Happy Go Lucky Cowboy" and then Monte sings the song himself. The six foot five cowboy is on a tall chestnut and seems to be riding from nowhere to nowhere else, the very picture of the song he is singing.
He is stopped by the sound of a bear and a calf in obvious distress. Although Monte cannot see what is happening, two men are dragging a small calf toward a big, ugly brute of a chained bear they have released from the back of a wagon. With unchanging expressions, the men watch the bear feed until they hear the sound of Monte's horse approaching. One of the men loads the bear, Nero, and the other takes pot shots at Monte. The first shot sends Monte's hat flying so he takes shelter quickly.
Monte returns the fire and is halted once more, this time by a diminutive cowboy with a gun who asks he if he can read signs. Monte's horse retrieves his hat and Monte asks what this is all about. Refusing to listen to anything Monte has to say, the boy herds him to his grandfather's ranch where Shug is reclining on a hammock with a cookie plate. A small bear is enjoying the cookies with him.
Shug is talking with his employer, an elderly man, who asks him if he had seen any further evidence of cattle killing. All Shug can talk about is his girlfriend and he falls asleep thinking of her.
Cub, the little boy, arrives with Monte and presents the tall rider to his grandfather who wants to take him straight to the sheriff. Monte, thinking this whole thing has gone far enough, sees Shug on the hammock and says he can identify him. But Shug is soundly, heavily asleep and dreaming of his girl. He is running his fingers through the bear's hair and talking to it as if it was his Petunia. When shaken awake Shug says he has never seen Monte before.
Just as the old man is ready to take Monte to town, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers come around the corner and greet him with obvious delight. The old man is puzzled until Bob tells him that Monte is the fellow they were telling him about - an authority on wild animal life.
After dinner, the boys emerge from the bunkhouse puzzling over the gunfire and trying to guess what it was all about. Shug is sure it was Bonnie Garth, the boss's niece, and he went on to tell a little of the history of the place. Two brothers had come out to pioneer this country and the one with more business sense built himself a huge, prosperous ranch. The other, Grizzly, had created a game preserve on his land. Bonnie has inherited her father's ranch and, for some inexplicable reason, the depredations on her herd have increased lately. Grizzly is certain his animals are not to blame but all the ranchers, Bonnie included, think otherwise.
A little later in the day, Bonnie brushes off a proposal from rancher, Dan Long, when she sees her crew standing around the remains of a little calf. She becomes increasingly angry at her uncle Grizzly and declares she is going bear hunting. She mounts and rides with Dan close behind her.
Back at Grizzly's ranch, the Sons of the Pioneers are gathered around a campfire after the noon meal, singing "Over the Rainbow Trail" while Shug feeds a young eagle and a raccoon while a squirrel runs around the men's shoulders. Cub cuddles his dog, Whiskers.
After Grizzly thanks the men for the song, he asks Monte if he can show him around the place. He explains to Monte that Cub's mother taught him to respect and protect animals and he points out her grave. Just as he is speaking the words, "As long as I'm here, no hunter is going to cross that boundary", a furious Bonnie Garth comes racing into view with her rifle, ready for bear!
Monte, seeing only the rifle, leaps into the saddle and follows her. He catches up, bulldogs her to the ground. Discovering she is a woman, he apologizes. She picks up her rifle and he tries to take it away from her, reminding her it is private property. Dan catches up with them and punches Monte who falls, taking Bonnie with him. A few more punches are exchanged and then Dan hits the ground, taking Bonnie with him. Bonnie thereafter watches from the ground as the fight goes on.
Grizzly and Cub ride up to see what is taking place and Bonnie has words with her uncle. He introduces Monte to her and she warns them both that the ranchers are angry and she will continue to hunt down the predators.
A little later, Dan rides up to a shack with Nero chained in front of it. The bear moves toward the horse causing it to buck Dan off. Dan picks up a nearby piece of wood and clubs the chained bear brutally. The bear caretaker, Clint, is drawn out of the cabin by the noise and he warns Dan about striking the bear. Clint threatens to quit the business but changes his mind when Dan offers him more money to keep staging bear raids. Dan tells Clint he is trying to force Grizzly out of the country.
The newspapers are all against Grizzly and the sheriff comes out to reason with
him once more. He advises him to take down the hunting restrictions but Monte
reminds him that a man has the right to put up No Hunting signs on private
property. The disgusted sheriff says he draws the line at someone who puts the
lives of animals before the lives of human beings. Cub, listening to this from
around the corner, is afraid they will have to sell the ranch and he seeks out Shug at the
animal hospital for comfort. Monte finds him there and tells him that he left
the conversation too soon, that what Grizzly has decided to do is donate the
whole estate to Uncle Sam for a natural game preserve. This will solve the
ranchers' problem, as well as Grizzly's, because the rangers will patrol. Shug
and Cub are ecstatic but Grizzly reminds them that someone has to stop Bonnie
who has called a cattleman's meeting.
Monte finds Bonnie who is still upset and rides away from him. This time he has to rope her to make her stop and listen. As they ride along, they hear a calf in distress and Bonnie is ready to shoot a bear. They find, instead, that a calf is caught in between two rocks. They free him and then go on with their ride, singing, "Take Your Time". By the time the song is finished, they are friends.
Just around the corner from the two singers, Clint and Slim are preparing to drag another little calf to Nero. They just miss being seen by Bonnie and Monte. Later on that evening, there is a hoedown taking place at Grizzly's home. Grizzly himself had not arrived yet. He had gone to town to have his will changed. While they wait for him, the Sons of the Pioneers supply the music while Bob and Monte call a square dance. Everyone is having a wonderful time, even Bob who dances with obvious enjoyment.
While the party is taking place at his house, Grizzly is riding home and comes upon Clint and Slim, the bear and the dead calf. He gets the drop on them and is preparing to take them to the sheriff when Dan comes along. Dan pistol whips and kills Grizzly then turns the bear loose on him to make it appear that the bear was the killer. Then Dan returns to the party as if nothing happened.
At the party, Cub is searching for his own cub, Lucky, who has had his feelings hurt. Whiskers finds Grizzly's body and Cub sees Lucky sniff at it before he fades into the brush. To all appearances, Lucky has killed Grizzly but Cub is certain that cannot be so. At the same time, Monte has turned the calling over to Bob because he has become uneasy about Grizzly's non appearance. He heads out to look for him and Bonnie joins him. Just as they are about to ride, they hear Cub's screams as he discovers Grizzly's body.
The ranchers are shocked and angry, ready to listen to Dan's instigation of a bear hunt. Bonnie decides to sell the ranch for Cub, sure that she has his best interests at heart. Helplessly, Cub realizes that his own little bear's life is on the line and he leaves with Lucky in an attempt to hide him.
Bob and Monte ride to the scene of the crime and find some puzzling wagon tracks. The deed for which he had ridden to town was not found on or near Grizzly's body and this was puzzling in itself. They find the remains of the calf.
While Cub is hiding and avoiding the hunters who have given up their bear hunt to search for him, Bob and Monte have been following the tracks to Clint and Slim's cabin. The owners of the killer bear, Nero, have been planning what they will do with their pay and they intend to turn Nero loose. Monte asks them if they knew about Grizzly's death and they pretend ignorance. While Monte is talking to the men, Bob has been inspecting the wagon and he realizes it has been on the scene of the killing. Clint attacks Monte and Slim draws his pistol, only to have Bob chop down on his wrist painfully. Monte and Clint roll around on the ground as Clint tries to bring Monte within reach of the bear's murderous paws.
Meanwhile, Cub has been successfully hiding from the searchers but Bonnie spots him and he runs into a cave with Lucky and Whiskers. He will not come out to Bonnie's calling and she is terrified that he will be mauled by his own bear. Dan tells them to let him handle the situation. He promises Cub that Lucky will not be hurt. Believing him, Cub slowly comes out and Dan raises his rifle. Just as he is about the shoot Lucky, regardless of Cub's pleadings, Monte shoots the rifle out of his hands. The wagon drives up and Monte has Clint and Slim tell what has been going on. Dan runs for the empty wagon and whips up the horses. Nero, who is chained inside, drags Dan off the seat into the back and the team runs away. By the time Monte has stopped the team, it is too late for Dan.
The local newspaper announces a tribute to Grizzly Garth and a crowd gathers around a veiled memorial. A National Parks representative dedicates the game preserve to Grizzly's memory, the Sons of the Pioneers sing Home on the Range and Cub unveils the monument.
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Courtesy of Jan Scott
Courtesy of Les Adams
Courtesy of Les Adams