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The Man from Sundown

(aka "A Woman's Vengeance" 1939)

 

Columbia Pictures Corp.

Production Dates: April 20 - 29, 1939

Release Date: 1939 07 15

Running time: 58 minutes (6 reels)

Key book (production) number: 315

 

Credits

Cast

Songs

Plot Summary

Production & Publicity Stills

Posters

Glass Slides

 

        The Man from Sundown is a tale of vicious killers and a woman who takes the law into her own hands to bring them to justice. The Sons of the Pioneers are her ranch hands and the four songs they sing fit believably into the script. Bob has several solos. Each of the Pioneers has a few words to say here and there but Pat Brady has a solid, comic part. The plot is weak but the song sequences are so good that it doesn't matter. This movie is available on DVD.

 


 


Cast

 

Left: Charles Starrett as Larry Whalen and Iris Meredith as Barbara Kellogg

Right: Dick Botiller as Rio and Charles Starrett as the Cheyenne Kid

 

Left: Bob Nolan and The Sons of the Pioneers

Right: Richard Fiske as Tom Kellogg and Edward Peil Sr. as Sheriff Wiley

 

Left: Jack Rockwell as Hank Austin

Right: Al Bridge as Slick Larson and Dick Botiller as Rio Mason

 

Ernie Adams as Shorty Bates and Edmund Cobb as Roper

 

Left: Robert Fiske as Capt. Prescott

Right: (left standing) Edward LeSaint as the Judge with Richard Fiske, Robert Fiske and Iris Meredith

 

Others in the Cast

Clem Horton as Bat

Forrest Dillon as Kirk

Red, the bartender

 

Songs

1. On the Rhythm Range (Bob Nolan)

2. Sunset on the Trail (Tim Spencer)

3. Springtime on the Range (Tim Spencer)

4. Round-up Time is Over (Bob Nolan)

5. On the Rhythm Range (Bob Nolan)

 

Plot:

While the Kellogg ranch hands are choring around the yard, they sing Bob Nolan’s “On the Rhythm Range”. Lloyd and Tim groom their horses, Bob tidies the haystack that Karl is sitting on and Hugh is milking the cow. Each one takes a turn with a verse.

 

 

Bob chuckles as a pinto foal takes a milk break.

 

 

The owners, Tom and Barbara Kellogg, approach as the song ends and Barbara asks for Pat.

 

 

Bob, silently pointing to the tips of Pat’s boots in the haystack, denies seeing him. So, intentionally loud, she asks Lloyd if he’d like to run an errand for her while they are shopping. His reward would be a piece of the pie she had baked especially for Pat.

 

 

The haystack explodes at the word “pie” and Pat runs for the house, tripping and falling flat on the way to everyone's amusement. Pat doesn't care who laughs as long as his pie goal is reached.

 

 

As they leave the yard, Barbara and Tom see Ranger Larry Whalen approaching. Larry tells them that he has been ordered to see his captain in town so they ride in together.

 

 

They find Ranger Hank Austin on the steps of the ranger headquarters and Larry tosses him a gift - a little mirror and comb. Pleased, Hank begins to groom his moustache.

 

 

The Kelloggs leave on their own errands and Hank tells Larry that another band of outlaws have just broken loose in this part of the country. The captain has called all the rangers in and is putting extra guards on every stagecoach. No one knows who these bandits are because no witness is ever left alive who can recognize them.

 

 

 

Hank and Larry enter Captain Prescott’s office as the stage enters town. The passengers alight and our attention is drawn to two of them.

 

 

The tough-looking duo thanks the rangers for a good trip. As they stroll down the sidewalk, they casually look around and nod to a man leaning against the wall, then to two drifters farther down the street and a man named Roper who is closer to them. 

 

 

They enter the bank and hold up the manager, forcing him to open the safe.

 

 

Outside, the Kelloggs arrive and Barbara leaves on her shopping trip while Tom heads for the bank. The seemingly idle men watch him.

 

 

Suddenly, the two bank robbers run from the bank and we hear the sound of the shot that kills the banker just as Tom is about to enter the door. The last man, Slick Larson, backs out and knocks Tom down with a left to the jaw. Intending to finish the job, he fires a shot at Tom’s unconscious body as he runs for his horse.

 

 

The Sheriff is drawn to the sound of firing. Tom sits up in time to see one of the robbers, Shorty Bates, escaping and risks a shot at him. The robber falls from his rearing horse. Roper watches as townspeople gather quickly around Tom and the fallen outlaw.

 

 

The sheriff and posse race after the four outlaws who elude them by hiding down a bank for a few minutes.

 

 

Back in town, in front of the doctor’s office, an angry mob of townspeople wait impatiently for the verdict on the injured bank manager, Sam Cooper.

 

 

When the doctor tells them that the banker has died, the townsfolk are ready to pull Shorty apart or hang him although he had not personally pulled the trigger.

 

 

Larry Whalen rides in then with Hank and brings some order to the mob. He listens as Tom Kellogg tells him what he saw.

 

 

The listening Roper hears Kellogg tell the crowd that he could identify the leader again. He quietly mounts his horse and leaves town as the two rangers take Shorty to jail.

 

 

Larry orders Hank to report to Capt. Prescott and Larry waits until the Sheriff gets back.

 

 

Roper reports to the outlaws and tells Slick that Kellogg would recognize him. Roper is to kill him at the first opportunity.

 

 

That evening, on the ranch porch, the ranch hands led by Bob Nolan sing “Sunset on the Trail”. 

 

 

Roper rides in quietly and sneaks closer for a shot at Tom but is interrupted by Hank who rides in shortly afterward.

 

 

As the song ends, Barbara offers Hank a piece of pie. As they approach the kitchen, they meet Pat in the doorway. Pat has, naturally, eaten Hank's pie. Hank is not pleased.

 

 

Larry asks if Capt. Prescott has been in touch with the judge and Hank assures him that the judge will be there right now. Tom will have to be present at Shorty’s trial because he is the only witness. They all prepare to leave for town and Roper tries to leave as silently as he’d come but he steps on a dead branch that snaps loudly. All the men race after him, firing ineffectually in the dark. Roper manages to escape without being recognized. Barbara panics, realizing that Roper must have been sent to kill Tom. Larry assures her that he will make sure that the gang never gets a chance to hurt Tom.

 

 

 

At the ranger’s office, the officials gather. Before the Kellogg party arrives, the ranger captain explains his position to the judge and the sheriff plus his hope that the outlaws will attempt to get Shorty out of jail.

 

 

Captain Prescott thanks the Kelloggs for coming and Barbara tells him about the attempt on Tom’s life. Prescott asks Tom for a description of the bank robber who had punched him. Tom’s insouciance obviously irritates his sister because he cannot see any danger to himself. He promises to be at tomorrow’s trial.

 

 

Larry briefs Bob and the Pioneers and they promise to guard Tom carefully. Larry suggests that Bob make the ride to town lighter for Barbara by getting the boys to sing a lively song.

 

 

Pat holds them up for a minute by giving Hank a toothpick for all the apple pie he didn’t get to eat the night before. He guffaws but Hank still isn’t amused and Pat’s laughter fades away uncertainly. Everyone else thinks it's funny, though, and the mood lightens.

 

 

On the way to town, Bob and the Sons of the Pioneers sing “Springtime on the Range”.

 

 

In town, Roper crosses the street and waits the arrival of the outlaws in a hidden corner of a building. Slick rides in on a beautiful, racy black and orders Roper to get into position.

 

 

The crowd stands waiting outside the courthouse which is guarded by many alert rangers.

 

 

Larry and the Kellogg party arrive and are met by Capt. Prescott. They all enter the court house with Tom encouraging a frightened Barbara.

 

 

Roper quietly takes his position by a window. The outlaw, Shorty, enters and Roper silently lowers a window. We see Slick take his position across the street and then the court comes to order.

 

 

Just as Tom begins his description of the murderer, he is shot through the window.

 

 

Men pour out of the court house and Slick jumps down from the roof onto his black horse. In the confusion that follows the shooting, Roper quietly grabs Shorty and tries to remove him from the room. As he reaches the door, Shorty turns around and fires at Bob. Larry manages to push Bob out of the way in time and shoots Shorty. He runs out onto the street and downs Roper, too, who was having trouble with his mount.

 

 

Back inside the court house, the doctor accompanies Barbara back into the room where Larry tries to comfort her. The Ranger Captain apologizes, saying they had done everything they could to protect her brother. Angry, Barbara declares that she will take care of her problem in her own way, leaves the room and returns to her brother’s body. Larry starts to follow her but she closes the door on him. Larry asks his boss to give him a leave of absence so he and Hank can infiltrate the outlaw gang.

 

 

The two men cross the border in time to see the gang boot a man out of the saloon and throw a shot at him, wounding him.

 

 

They dismount and enter the saloon themselves, unsure of just what they will have to do. Larry, as The Cheyenne Kid, sees Slick right away and recognizes him by the scar on his face. Slick notices them and listens in while they chat with the bartender. When the bartender sees them pay for their drinks with gold from a Wells Fargo bag, he comments on it. The Cheyenne Kid becomes surly and shuts him up.

 

 

This gives Slick the opportunity to talk with Larry. Larry strolls over to the roulette table and throws his weight around. He ends up fighting with Rio, finally beating him. Slick watches without comment and, when Rio goes for his dropped gun, steps on his wrist to keep him from shooting Larry.

 

 

Larry thanks him and Slick tells him he doesn’t believe in shooting a man in the back. He invites Larry to sit down and chat then offers him a job. Larry, in thanks for Slick’s saving his life, offers to let him in on a job in a town named Sundown. Slick doesn’t believe there’s anything left in Sundown to steal but Larry tells him about a gold shipment. They make plans to intercept it. Larry send Hank (alias “Buck”) home to Sundown, ostensibly to check up on the details. Rio tries to warn Slick and Larry draws his gun. “I don’t like his face,” he snarls at Slick. Slick calms him down and Rio retires to the bar to glare at Larry’s back.

 

 

Hank races back across the border to Sundown to report to Captain Prescott.

 

 

The next morning sees an old covered wagon enter the border town where Larry is still masquerading as The Cheyenne Kid while he awaits Hank’s return. There is no one more surprised than Larry to see the Kellogg outfit ride in as horse traders, singing “Round-Up Time is Over”.

 

 

Pat starts his selling spiel but is shouted down by the outlaws. They taunt Pat with having goats instead of horses and invite him to look at Slick's black, a real horse.

 

 

 Barbara challenges Slick to a race - her paint against his black - with the winner taking both horses and tack. Larry watches from inside the saloon, unseen by his friends who are unaware of his presence.

 

 

 

Bob draws a starting line with his boot in the dirt and the two contestants line up.

 

 

He announces the rules to the race and they're off!

 

 

Although the black initially pulls ahead, Barbara wins the race and both horses. 

 

 

 

Slick is disgruntled but there’s nothing he can say as the race was fair and Barbara is a woman. Larry slips back into the saloon unseen while Pat walks over and collects the black horse. Barbara promises Slick he’ll get a chance to get his horse back at the auction tomorrow then she and her outfit head out of town.

 

 

The outlaws belly up to the bar once more, commiserating with their boss. Larry tells Slick he did a fool thing. Slick assures him that he will get him back tomorrow. Larry answers, “You might. If they’re still here tomorrow.”

 

 

Slick decides he wants his horse back right now. As they leave the saloon, Hank gallops up with the news that the Wells Fargo stage is guarded by only two men. Slick leaves Rio in charge to get ready for the holdup while he and Larry ride out to get the black. Rio is suspicious but there is clearly nothing he can do.

 

 

The two men catch up with the Kellogg group who are happy to see their ruse is working but astonished to see Larry with Slick. Larry draws on Slick.

 

 

Back in town, Rio is getting increasingly worried and starts out to meet his boss. At the same time, the Pioneers tie Slick and load him into the back of the wagon.

 

 

Larry sets the wagon on its way across the border toward Sundown. They leave the loose horses to be collected later. He warns Barbara not to let the pursuers catch up with her.

 

 

Pretending his horse has been taken, Larry limps back toward the gang and meets Rio on the way. He tells Rio that he was held up and Slick was captured. Rio offers him a stirrup and they ride double back to the gang and Larry’s horse. The gang plans to rescue Slick, unaware that they are heading neatly into a trap.

 

 

The chase is on and the Kellogg group barely manages to keep ahead of the outlaws.

 

 

In the back of the wagon Slick finally manages to loosen his bonds just as they arrive in Sundown. He steps out of the wagon and tries to escape but Barbara sees him and holds a gun on him. The gang, astonished to find Sundown full of rangers, is taken into custody.

 

 

The Pioneers, back at the Kellogg ranch, sing the rest of “On the Rhythm Range”.

 

 

A nervous Pat, recalling his own prank, keeps his eye on Hank who is finally getting to enjoy the promised wedge of apple pie. Hank offers him a piece and Pat dives for it like a hungry pup. To the delight of the others, Hank hands him only a sliver of crust.

 

 


 

 

Production & Publicity Stills

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

 

Calin Coburn Collection

 

Calin Coburn Collection

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

 

Private Collection

 

Although this still reads "Western Caravans", the actual scene was from "The Man from Sundown" which followed it.

 

Private Collection

 

eBay image

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

eBay image

 

eBay image

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

 

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

Left: Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posters

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glass Slides