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Riders of Black River

(aka "Riders of the Black River")


Columbia Pictures Corporation

Production Dates: July 13 - 22, 1939

Release Date: 1939 08 23

Running time: 59 min

Key book (production) number: 318





Plot Summary

Production and Publicity Stills


This movie is available on DVD.



        Riders of Black River is the story of a young man blackmailed into turning criminal and how he escapes the trap  with the help of his friends. Bob Nolan's character is integral to the plot although he does not have much dialogue. Bob and Tim share songwriting credits. This movie is available on DVD.





Dick Curtis as Blaize Carewe, Edmund Cobb as Colt Foster, Stanley Brown as Terry Holden, Iris Meredith as Linda Holden and Charles Starrett as Wade Patterson


Forrest Taylor as Sheriff Dave Patterson and Francis Sayles as Doc Greene


Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers

Others in the cast:

Ethan Allen as Joel Matthews

Carl Sepulveda as Rip Salter, henchman

Olin Francis as Whit Kane, henchman

Maston Willims as Ed Gills, henchman

George Chesebro as uncredited ranch hand



1. Ridin' on the Rocky Range (Tim Spencer)

2. Ridin' the Range with You (Tim Spencer)

3. Campfires of Heaven (Bob Nolan - Lloyd Perryman)

4. Ridin' on the Rocky Range (Tim Spencer)

NB: Where the Rio Rolls Along was reportedly in this film but it was not in my copy.


Plot Summary:

        After an absence of 3 years, ex-Ranger Wade Patterson is returning home with the Sons of the Pioneers who are singing Ridin' on the Rocky Range as they go. Pat is complaining about how Wade is pushing them without enough rest or food because he is so anxious to take over his new ranch, or see his girl, or both.



        The scene changes and young Terry Holden appears, watching from a distance. When he recognizes Patterson, he wheels his horse and races up to Kane and Gills who are with a herd of cattle. He argues with them about holding the herd on Patterson's ranch and they send him to town to talk with their boss, Carewe.



        Terry takes their advice and rides into town. About the same time, Carewe is nailing up a poster advertising a $5,000 reward for cattle rustlers. Rip, one of his henchmen, jokes with him about it because Carewe is the head rustler. Sheriff Dave Patterson, Wade's brother, rides into town with the empty-handed posse and Carewe pretends to commiserate with him. Dr. Greene calls Dave into his office to admire a sign he's made as a surprise for Wade while Carewe and Colt are sitting in Carewe's office, discussing the future.



                Carewe tells him that, now that Wade is back and Terry's lease on that land is cancelled, they will have to make other plans for hiding the cattle. They are quite sure they are safe because, the way they have it set up, Terry will take all the blame. While they are discussing this, Terry himself bursts in. He is aware that he will be blamed for all the rustling and wants the cattle moved off Wade's land.



        Right then, Wade and the Pioneers ride into town. Dave rushes out to greet his brother and Wade introduces the Sons of the Pioneers to him. The doctor comes out and welcomes Wade home, too. Both he and Dave put him in the picture with regard to the rustlers. They make plans to meet in an hour.



        Carewe sends Terry out to try to delay Wade by asking him to stay at his place for the night, giving the rustlers time to move the cattle. Wade thinks that's a good idea but Pat complains again about his empty stomach and all the delays.



        Carewe and Terry watch from the window as Dave rides away with the sign he intends to mount on Wade's fence as a surprise for his brother. Carewe straps on his gun and Terry, afraid of what the boss rustler is about to do, remonstrates with him. Carewe leaves Rip to keep Terry inside and rides away after Dave.




        The next scene finds Wade with Linda Holden and the Sons of the Pioneers who are singing Ridin' the Range with You.



        The scene switches to the Circle A Ranch where John is mounting the sign. One of the outlaws spots him and reports to the men who are in charge of the rustled herd. This attracts Dave's attention and he disarms the man left to watch him. Carewe arrives with Colt, borrows his rifle and shoots Dave. He instructs his men to tell Wade his brother was found on the north road.



        Back at Carewe's office, Terry waits anxiously. When Carewe returns, he tells Terry everything will be fine and to keep his mouth shut and keep Wade off his new ranch for as long as possible. Terry, sick at heart, persuades Wade to look over the new ranch house before he does anything else.



        The body of the sheriff is brought into town by the two rustlers who purport to know nothing about it. Carewe pretends to be sympathetic and, just then, Wade rides in. The doctor tells him that his brother is dead. Bob angrily asks if everyone is just going to stand around and let the killer escape. A posse is formed and rides out of town but Linda prevents Terry from leaving with them.



        A shaken Wade questions the doctor and is puzzled by where the body was supposed to be found. He mounts and rides to the Circle A with Linda and Terry where he finds the sign, partially mounted on the gate. They search the area and Linda finds Dave's hat with a bullet hole through it. They head back for town to talk with the doctor again. Wade asks to see Dave's gun just as the posse returns. The posse blames the rustlers.



        Carewe asks Terry to go with him. Wade brings Bob up to date on the events and sends him to the Holden Ranch. Wade continues to question the doctor and becomes convinced that his brother was drygulched right there at the gate, not on the north road.




        Terry demands a reason for killing the sheriff and Carewe tells him that it was unavoidable. Terry lets Carewe know that Wade is already suspicious. Carewe instructs his men to lie and state at the inquest that Dave was still alive when they found him. Terry says he is going to tell Wade the truth but Carewe blackmails him into silence by referring to a previous killing Terry thinks he has committed.



        At the inquest, Kane, one of the rustlers, takes the stand and tells how he and Gills found Dave alive on the side of the north road. They picked him up and brought him to town, they claim. Gills backs up Kane and Wade cross examines him about the position of the gun when they found the body. Carewe suggests appointing a temporary sheriff and Colt is appointed.



        Wade instructs his men to go to the ranch while he consults the doctor once more. Carewe warns Terry again. Wade and Linda watch while Colt goes over to the Sheriff's office.



        Wade, Linda and the doctor discuss their plans and the doctor suggests Colt should be let in on them since he is now the sheriff. Wade agrees and he and Linda walk across the street to the Sheriff's Office in time to surprise Colt going through Dave's things. Colt has found a letter to Dave from the Kansas City Stock Yards pointing a finger at Terry Holden. He tried to hide it from Wade who becomes suspicious and demands to see it. Colt reaches for his gun but Wade beats him to the draw and sends him out of the office while he collects all of his brother's effects. They read the letter and Linda asks Wade to go with her to talk with Terry.




        As they leave the office, Carewe is leaving town with Colt and, as he goes, he tells Kane to get rid of Terry. Carewe and Colt, on the pretext of arresting Terry, reach the Holden Ranch ahead of Wade and Linda. They tell Terry that Wade is suspicious and instruct him to deny everything. Wade and Jean ride up, confront Terry with the letter and ask him to explain. He refuses. Colt reminds Wade that he is the Sheriff and that Terry is his prisoner.



        Bob Nolan walks up to join Wade and Linda as the others ride off and is instructed to keep Carewe and Colt in sight.



        As they are riding, Bob, Wade and Linda hear a shot and find to their dismay that Terry has been bushwhacked.



        Carewe and Linda take Terry to town to the doctor while Bob and Wade catch Kane, disarm him and take him to town to the sheriff. Wade brings his prisoner in and Colt locks him up. Wade asks Bob to disarm Gills and has him locked up, too.



        The doctor assures Wade and Linda that Terry will recover. Carewe asks Rip to round up all his crew and have them meet in his office after dark. Terry has told the doctor that Carewe and Colt killed Dave. Bob is all for getting Carewe right away but Wade counsels patience. Carewe comes in and says he doesn't trust the ranchers; that they might break in and lynch the prisoners before their trial. He suggests sending the prisoners to the county seat under cover of darkness, guarded by the Sons of the Pioneers. Wade appears to agree but he has another plot in mind.



        After dark Wade, Linda and Bob prepare to get to the prisoners before the sheriff or Carewe does. As a cover, Linda has a basket filled with food for her brother. Meanwhile Carewe goes ahead with his plans to ambush the posse and kill the prisoners. He sends Rip to organize things and asks him to send Colt to him.




        When Colt goes out of his office, he leaves Rip in charge. Wade gives the basket to Linda and she steps into the office where Rip challenges her. She insists on giving the food to Terry so Rip examines it for weapons then opens the cell door. Bob and Wade step in and hold him up, set Terry free and then open Kane's door. Kane grabs at Wade's gun and it goes off accidentally. They freeze while they wait to see if anyone heard the shot, then they take both prisoners and leave.



        Meanwhile, in Carewe's office, Colt is getting restless and decides to return to his own office. He finds the prisoners gone, alerts Carewe and the gang and they all head for the Circle A.


        Wade instructs the Pioneers to tie the prisoners and put them in the old line shack then build a campfire, sit around it and sing "Campfires of Heaven" as if nothing untoward has happened.




        Carewe and his gang hear them and break up the singing. Bob talks to Carewe who draws a gun on him. Linda tells Carewe the prisoners are in the line shack and he and Colt break in. They untie Kane. Meanwhile, Bob and the Pioneers have taken the rustlers prisoner. Just as Carewe is about to shoot Terry, Wade comes up behind him and gets the drop on him.



        He tells Terry to leave, takes off his gun belt and he and Carewe go at it with their fists. A lamp is accidentally knocked over and the shack catches fire but the fight continues unabated. 



        Bob and one of the ranchers break in just in time to hear Carewe confess to killing Wade's brother. He also confesses that Terry was framed and had killed nobody. On the way to town, the group sings "Ridin' on the Rocky Range" to the credits. The movie ends with Wade finishing the task his brother had started - mounting the sign on the gate.










Courtesy of Jan Scott



Courtesy of Earl Bryant


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Courtesy of Earl Bryant



Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Earl Bryant



Courtesy of Earl Bryant






Courtesy of Jan Scott



Courtesy of Jan Scott



Courtesy of Bruce Hickey


Courtesy of Earl Bryant













Courtesy of Jan Scott


Courtesy of Bruce Hickey





Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Earl Bryant









Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Bruce Hickey


Courtesy of Bruce Hickey


Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Earl Bryant


Courtesy of Earl Bryant



Courtesy of Earl Bryant



Courtesy of Earl Bryant








Courtesy of Earl Bryant



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