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Outpost of the Mounties

(aka "On Guard" / "Mounted Police No. 2")

 

Columbia Pictures Corporation

Production Dates: May 13 - 25, 1939

Release Date: 1939 09 14

Running time: 63 minutes (7 reels)

Key book (production) number: 316

Location: Lake Arrowhead (near Big Bear Lake)

Original screen play by Charles Francis Royal

Musical Director: M. W. Stoloff

Directed by C. C. Coleman Jr.

 

Introduction: In "Outpost of the Mounties", Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers don the dress uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Nolan fills out the red serge as admirably and looks as sharp as the hero, Charles Starrett. This movie introduced Tim Spencer's famous "Timber Trail". The other two songs were "Always Rollin' Home" by Bob Nolan and "Rocky Road in the Rockies", a song still the subject of research. Supposed for years to be one of Bob Nolan's creations, "Rocky Road in the Rockies" is also claimed by Tim Spencer, Glenn Spencer and Roy Varner. A closer study of the melody reveals Bob's hand in the bridge.

 

When the summer wind comes a-winging,

Then I’m feeling so alone.

There’s a melody softly singing,

Bringing me memories of home.

 

        Unfortunately, the DVD we have is flawed so we were unable to include captured photos of the action. Instead, we have inserted what production stills we could find.

 

Cast

Songs

Plot Summary

Production and Publicity Stills

Posters

This movie is available on DVD.


Cast:

 

Charles Starrett as RCMP Sgt. Neal Crawford

 

Iris Meredith as Norma Daniels and Stanley Brown as her brother, Larry

(Images courtesy of Bruce Hickey and Buddy Bryant)

 

Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers as RCMP constables

(Images courtesy of the Roy Rogers Trust Fund)

 

Others in the Cast:

Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro) as Evans

Kenneth MacDonald as R A Kirby

Edmund Cobb as Burke

Dick Curtis as Wade Beaumont

Lane Chandler as Cst. Cooper, RCMP

Alberto Morin as Jacques Larue

Pat O'Hara as Inspector Wainwright


Songs:

1. The Timber Trail (Tim Spencer)

2. Rocky Road in the Rockies (Bob Nolan and the Spencers)

3. Always Rollin' Home (Bob Nolan)


Plot Summary:

        Riding through the tall trees of the gold rich Cariboo country of central British Columbia, a troop of Royal Canadian Mounted Policemen sing "Timber Trail" as their sergeant cheerfully listens although he isn't interested in joining in.

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

        An exceedingly hungry Constable Pat Brady is shocked and dismayed to hear they won't be stopping to eat at the next trading post. Sgt. Crawford warns him that prices are ridiculously high there for food and tells them all that it's been a real problem for a lot of people.

        Ahead of them, at the Caribou Trading Company store, young Larry Daniels is angrily pounding on the door, attempting to incite the crowd to break it down. His sister, Norma, and a trapper by the name of Evans try to dissuade him but he is upset at the inordinately high prices they have to pay the factor (manager) just to eat and live. Everyone is in debt with no way out. Daniels is determined to confront the factor and force some changes.

        One of the crowd, local businessman R A Kirby, listens and then leaves quietly. Entering his office, he finds the factor, Wade Beaumont, there before him. Beaumont, Kirby and his friend Burke are secretly co-owners of the trading company and have been squeezing the people dry, amassing a fortune in gold dust for themselves. Beaumont, shaken by the mob threat, is losing his nerve and is ready to quit. He worries that the trio has been too hard on the people for safety. There is over $100,000 in gold dust in the safe, Beaumont states, and he wants out. Now. Kirby soothes him but, after he strides out the door, it becomes apparent that Beaumont's life is now in jeopardy, not from the townsfolk but from his partners. They decide to send for Jacques Larue to replace Beaumont after they have him murdered. Kirby's agile mind is already turning over ideas that will place the blame on someone other than himself. He will wait and watch for an opportunity.

        A littler later, Larry and Norma Daniels are inside the trading post buying their supplies. When Beaumont tells them the 10-pound sack of flour is worth 2 pinches of dust, Norma is horrified but there is nothing they can do put pay the price. When Beaumont measures out the gold dust, he keeps pouring until Larry grabs his hand and stops him. Beaumont reminds him that he's behind on his lease. Larry demands his dust back and Beaumont dumps the groceries out but keeps enough dust for the lease. Larry produces an knife and drives it into the counter between Beaumont's fingers then gathers up all of his dust before Beaumont punches him. Then the fight is on and everyone joins in. During the melee, Kirby sees the answer to his problem and has Burke grab Larry's knife from the floor. He hides it under his jacket.

        At this opportune moment the Mounties ride into town. Sgt. Crawford and Cst. Nolan soon have the fight under control and Sgt. Crawford asks for witness testimony. Kirby steps forward and tells what happened, apparently in support of Larry Daniels. Beaumont stares at Kirby, surprised at this overt act of disloyalty but he says nothing.

 

eBay photo

 

        After the Sergeant reprimands Daniels and suggests he keep his temper under better control, he steps outside. Norma follows him to thank him. His detachment doesn't intend to stay, he tells her, but are on their way to headquarters. While they chat, the troop stand by their horses, grinning at their Sergeant's obvious attraction to the beautiful girl. He catches them at it, shakes Norma's hand once more and rejoins his men. Because he is uneasy about the way the crowd is acting, he orders Cst. Nolan to stay in town to keep an eye on things.

        Kirby and Burke notice that Nolan has been left behind. Burke asks why Kirby didn't let the Mounties take Daniels with them. Kirby reminds him of the knife - and their original plan.

        The Mounties' set up camp beside a lake and the men while away the evening by singing "Rocky Road in the Rockies". Sgt. Crawford is restless and his men are quick to notice. When he draws on his gauntlets and saddles his horse, the men chuckle and stand up to openly watch him, waiting for his excuse. He tells them he's going to town to see Cst. Bob Nolan. "Oh yes," they quickly agree. "Bob!" They burst into laughter as he rides away.

        In the trading post, Beaumont is putting things away for the night. Kirby and Burke, standing in the deep shadows, are waiting for Larry Daniels' appearance. Earlier in the evening they had suggested to the young man that he make peace with Beaumont and he'd been agreeable.

        Just then Daniels enters the factor's door. Kirby hands the boy's knife to Burke then saunters over to talk with Cst. Nolan, thereby giving himself an alibi. He gives Nolan a cigar which the young Mountie pockets politely.

        At the same time, Daniels approaches Beaumont in the store and offers his hand in apology. Beaumont shakes it and confidentially tells him that even he doesn't like the way the people have been treated. Daniels starts to leave and Beaumont insists he take the groceries he couldn't afford earlier - free.

        The Sergeant canters up in the dark to find Cst. Nolan and Kirby chatting in the middle of the street while inside Daniels asks if Beaumont found his knife. They look for it together, not realizing that Burke has entered the store through the cellar. They agree to look more carefully in the daylight, say goodnight and Daniels leaves by the street door. Burke quietly enters the room through a trapdoor in the floor. Outside, Kirby is careful to draw the Mounties' attention to Daniels' departure. Inside, Beaumont bends over to light a lamp and Burke drives Daniels' knife deep into his back, killing the big man instantly.

        Outside, Kirby wonders aloud to the lawmen if Daniels has gone in to cause more trouble. The Sergeant and Cst. Nolan decide to check. Burke silently disappears through the trapdoor into the cellar as they find Beaumont's body with Daniels' knife still in his back. Cst. Nolan is left with the body while the Sergeant follows Daniels. Burke joins Kirby on the street and asks him loudly what's going on. When told that Daniels has killed Beaumont, the citizens gather round.

 

eBay photo

 

        The Sergeant has Daniels identify his own knife then takes him into custody. Evans, watching from the shadows, runs to tell Norma and the horrified girl joins her brother at the trading post. Cst. Nolan has examined the scene of the crime and reports to Sgt. Crawford. Evidence against Daniels is strong - he was the last one in the post with Beaumont and there was no other way to get in or out. Kirby has a bad moment himself when Sgt. Crawford trips over the rug covering the trapdoor.

        When Norma bursts into the room, her brother assures her that he didn't kill Beaumont. Sgt. Crawford tells them that, although the evidence is all circumstantial, he has no choice but to take Daniels into custody and turn him over to the inspector.

        Nolan clears the room of spectators and Kirby sees Norma home. Nolan finds the day's take in gold dust still on the counter, produces the combination to the safe that he'd found on the factor and gives them to Sgt. Crawford. When Sgt. Crawford opens the safe and finds it bulging with sacks of gold dust, he orders Nolan to stay to guard it until he can send a man to relieve him.

        Some time later, RCMP Inspector Wainwright presides over Larry Daniels' preliminary hearing. Kirby's carefully-worded testimony is damning. Evans' reluctant testimony is equally so.

 

Calin Coburn photo

 

        After the room is cleared, Sgt. Crawford, not entirely convinced that young Daniels is guilty, shares his doubts with his superior officer. Insp. Wainwright decides to send Daniels to Edmonton to be tried in court. He is also concerned about all the gold dust in the safe so gives orders to have it transferred to the company's head office in Edmonton - unless the new factor has already arrived. Sgt. Crawford asks for and receives a leave of absence to go into the circumstances more closely. As he leaves, Sgt. Crawford reassures Norma as he helps her mount her paint pony. Somehow they will prove her brother's innocence.

        As they ride for headquarters, the troop of Mounties sing "Always Rollin' Home". They are cheerful but Sgt. Crawford and Larry Daniels are noticeably glum. Sgt. Crawford leaves his detachment at the crossroads and takes Daniels back to town alone.

        In the trading post once more, Sgt. Crawford tells the guard, Cst. Cooper, that he has orders to take the gold to the trading company in Edmonton. Kirby and Burke begin to get nervous. Then Kirby gets an idea and writes a short note. He gives it to Burke with instructions to see that Larry Daniels gets it. As part of his new plan, Kirby strolls over to the crowd to stir them up so they'll take Daniels from the Mounties.

        Cst. Cooper, loaded down with the sacks of dust, steps outside the store. Then, accurately gauging the temper of the crowd, he re-enters the store and Sgt. Crawford has him replace the gold dust in the safe for the time being. Sgt. Crawford orders Larry Daniels to keep out of sight while he goes to the door to confront the angry crowd. They try to rush Sgt. Crawford who starts to draw his revolver when Norma pleads with them and out of respect for her they pause.

 

eBay photo

 

        Meanwhile, Burke tosses something into the room where Daniels sits waiting. Curious, the boy finds Kirby's note wrapped around a stone, telling him there's a trap door under the rug and a horse waiting in the alley - signed only "A Friend". Daniels quickly takes advantage of the offer and disappears through the trapdoor, galloping out of town, handcuffs and all. When Cst. Nolan and Norma enter the room, they find one of the bags of gold gone, incriminating her brother in theft as well as murder. Cst. Nolan locks the safe himself this time.

        Daniels is chased on horseback by Sgt. Crawford and Cst. Cooper until he loses them in the bush. The two Mounties separate and search in different directions but Daniels meets Evans, his old trapper friend, who directs him to his own cabin.

        Back in town, a frightened Norma meets Evans outside. When he tells her that her brother is safe in his cabin, she mounts her pony and sets off to persuade him to give himself up. In the cabin, Larry Daniels is trying to get rid of his handcuffs. On the ridge, Sgt. Crawford watches Norma racing along the trail and follows her. When she approaches the cabin, her brother meets her waving a revolver which she takes away from him and sets on a small table. She tries to persuade him to return.

        Sgt. Crawford sneaks up to the open window in time to hear her ask her brother why he took the gold. He denies it vehemently. Just as she asks her brother how he got out of the store, Sgt. Crawford enters the cabin.

 

        Young Daniels hands him the note and Sgt. Crawford immediately recognizes it as evidence that the boy is not guilty. No one suspects Kirby of being "A Friend". They are all convinced the miners were responsible for the note but Sgt. Crawford cannot turn Daniels loose to question them.

        Norma, changing her mind abruptly, picks up her brother's gun and turns it on Sgt. Crawford. She orders her brother to get the key to the handcuffs. Sgt. Crawford advances toward her and she fires. Daniels unlocks his cuffs, saddles his horse and rides away, locking the cabin behind him. In just a few minutes he returns. He finds he cannot run away after all. The three of them decide to return to town to see where the trapdoor clue will lead.

        In their town office, Kirby and Burke have their poker game interrupted by a knock on the door. Burke opens the door to find Jacques LaRue, their erstwhile "factor". Kirby asks Burke to bring LaRue up to date on events while he writes out new credentials for him.

        As the Daniels and Sgt. Crawford approach town, the sergeant sends Norma ahead so she can observe the crowd as her brother is brought back to jail.

        Back in Kirby's office, LaRue tries to reassure Kirby and Burke. Daniels, he says, will never be caught and never given the opportunity to talk. As Kirby hands LaRue his new "credentials", Burke sees Sgt. Crawford and Daniels enter town. Kirby sends LaRue out to meet Sgt. Crawford through the back door, unaware they are observed by Norma. She watches Kirby and Burke join him from the front door and a small frown creases her forehead. Why this bit of play acting?

        Out front, Sgt. Crawford and Daniels play their own little part. Cst. Nolan asks if they've recovered the gold. Pretending ignorance, Sgt. Crawford asks for more information and Daniels pleads ignorance. Daniels is led away to jail by Cst. Nolan.

        LaRue introduces himself and Sgt. Crawford tells him he will deal with him later. Right now he wants to find out more about the theft. They hurry inside, followed closely by Kirby, Burke and as many townspeople as can fit into the room. Sgt. Crawford leaves them there, strides into the inner room, notes the position of the trapdoor, unlocks and opens a window then returns and announces to the crowd, "This is where he got out" pointing to the open window.

        Satisfied, the crowd leaves and Sgt. Crawford invites LaRue in to look at the safe. Taking the combination from his belt, Sgt. Crawford opens the safe and satisfies himself and LaRue that one bag is missing. He leaves the rest of the gold in the safe, in LaRue's charge now, and sends the factor to get his belongings at the hotel while he guards the gold. When Sgt. Crawford is sure LaRue is out on the street, he closes and locks the inner door.

        Out on the street, still observed by Norma, LaRue pauses casually beside Kirby and Burke, letting them know sotto voce that everything is going as planned. Norma slips away unnoticed.

        Sgt. Crawford finds the trapdoor and examines the cellar. Satisfied that the murderer escaped that way, he replaces the trapdoor and its covering of sheepskin then examines the books, comparing the handwriting in them to a slip of paper he's taken from his pocket. Norma knocks on the inner door and Sgt. Crawford quickly puts the paper away before he realizes who is knocking. He asks Norma if she's noticed anything and she tells him about LaRue's strange behaviour around Kirby and Burke - as if he was hiding something.

        Hearing LaRue's name reminds Sgt. Crawford that he still hasn't examined the new factor's credentials. He pulls the papers from his belt and opens them. At first glance they appear correct. Then he looks closer, finds the note Daniels had received from "A Friend" and compares the handwriting. He shows Norma that the same person who wrote LaRue's "credentials" also wrote the note to her brother. Now they have to find the writer and the mystery will be solved. Crawford hears LaRue returning, replaces papers and ledger then pretends he's been telling Norma that he can't help her brother. He directs her to the jail just as LaRue enters the room.

        Sgt. Crawford has LaRue sign a page in his official notebook, ostensibly releasing the gold into the LaRue's hands but chiefly because he wants to see if the factor wrote his own credentials. Cst. Cooper is left with LaRue to guard the gold while Sgt. Crawford mounts his horse and rides out. Burke and Kirby guess that he's going to the jail to try to get information from Daniels and Burke is worried. Kirby is not.

        Cst. Nolan lets Sgt. Crawford into the jail where he finds the two young Daniels sitting side by side on a cot, despondently awaiting events. Sgt. Crawford sits down to compare LaRue's handwriting with the factor's credentials and Daniels' note. They don't match. Norma is still certain Kirby and Burke are behind it all and Sgt. Crawford, although he might think so, too, knows he must have proof. He thinks he can get that proof through LaRue. He has a new plan.

        Back in the store LaRue is working behind the counter and Cst. Cooper is still guarding the safe when Sgt. Crawford appears. Sgt. Crawford lets the two men know that Daniels hasn't told him anything yet. He walks into the inner room, looking around carefully, when Norma comes running in with her brother's mysterious note. Sgt. Crawford pretends to read it for the first time, searches for and finds the trapdoor under the sheepskin rug, asks Cst. Cooper for a candle and sends him down the cellar with it. Cooper  affirms that the trapdoor leads outside.

        Sgt. Crawford interrogates Norma a little longer for LaRue's benefit. He orders Cooper to nail down the trapdoor for LaRue's protection and then meet him at the jail. He leaves the premises with Norma and they hide around a corner of the building in deep shadow.

 

 

        Cooper nails down the trapdoor and leaves for the jail, as directed. He passes Norma and Sgt. Crawford without seeing them. LaRue leaves next, keeping to the shadows until he reaches Kirby's office. Norma and Sgt. Crawford follow quietly.

 

 

        They hear LaRue warn Kirby and Burke to get rid of any papers that might identify the handwriting on the note. Norma and and Sgt. Crawford watch helplessly through the window as their evidence is burned and the two crooks leave.

        Next morning, Kirby and Burke watch as Sgt. Crawford lopes into town and collects his detachment. They are leaving for Edmonton, he announces. To LaRue's unguarded dismay, Sgt. Crawford intends to take the gold along with them.

        Sgt. Crawford supposedly leaves for Moose Lake to get some extra guards and Norma, according to their new plan, persuades the townspeople to break Daniels out of jail. To make sure no one is hurt, Norma takes the loud mouthed ringleader's gun and goes ahead to warn Cst. Cooper not to put up too much of a fight. Kirby and Burke follow the crowd in time to see the young policeman overpowered then they head straight back to the trading post to get the gold. Sgt. Crawford watches from cover and steals into the building behind them.

        Cst. Nolan has been guarding the gold and the two crooks tell him that Cooper needs help. When the unsuspecting young policeman leaves at a run, they remove the bags of gold dust from the safe. Sgt. Crawford jumps up from behind the rack of furs where he's been hiding and confronts the three men. Kirby hides behind a stack of cans and pushes them over as a diversion. One of the escaping men hits Sgt. Crawford over the head with the saddle bag full of gold dust. It knocks him down but the brawny sergeant quickly regains his feet and the fight is on - one Mountie against three villains.

 

Calin Coburn photo

 

        Sgt. Crawford does very well against those odds until he is hit over the head with a chair. When the stunned sergeant regains his feet, he fires a shot to call his men and heads off after the crooks, Norma bringing up the rear on her paint pony. LaRue is shot off his horse and so are two of the Mounties. Norma stops to help them while Sgt. Crawford follows Burke and Kirby. The escaping murderers reach the lake, throw away their empty revolvers and jump into a canoe. Sgt. Crawford shouts to them to surrender but they ignore him.

 

Bruce Hickey photo

 

        Crawford puts two shots through the canoe and it sinks with one hundred thousand dollars worth of gold still in it. Kirby and Burke swim to shore and Crawford takes them into custody.

        Some time later, Inspector Wainwright stands on the porch of the trading post flanked by Sgt. Crawford, Csts. Nolan and Cooper. The inspector commends Sgt. Crawford and his wife, Norma, on solving a serious crime then, to a roar of approval from the crowd, turns the trading post over to its new factor, Larry Daniels. Everyone is happy and justice is served.

 

Publicity and Production Stills

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

Roy Rogers Family Trust photo

 

 

eBay photos

 

eBay image

 

eBay image

 

eBay images

 

eBay images

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 


 

Posters

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

eBay image

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

eBay images

 

eBay image

 

Courtesy of Les Adams 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant