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Silver Spurs

 

Republic Pictures Corporation

Production Dates: began April 26, 1943

Release Date: 1943 08 12

Running time: originally 68 minutes (6,122 ft.), cut to 54 minutes

Production Number 1224

Location: Iverson's Ranch / Kernville / Lake Sherwood

 

• Credits

• Cast

• Songs

• Plot Summary

• Publicity and Production Stills

• Posters

• Second Unit Sequence

• This movie is available on DVD.

 

        "Silver Spurs" is an action film. Famed second unit director, Yakima Canutt ("Ben Hur"), planned and did the stunts himself for the complete sequence he first used (in part) in "Stagecoach" in 1939. In the film we see some outstanding driving plus a large cast of familiar ex-cowboy posse riders and stuntmen, now beginning to show their age. Hal Taliaferro appears in the role of a cold, handsome, clean-shaven killer.

        Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers are always somewhere in the background; Bob and Pat have a little dialogue. (The group may have had a larger part in the original uncut film. At least two songs were cut from our print.)

 

 


 

Cast

 

 Joyce Compton as Millie Love, Roy Rogers as himself and Phyllis Brooks as Mary Hardigan Johnson

 

Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers

 

Left: Smiley Burnette as Frog Millhouse and Forrest Taylor as Judge Pebble

Centre: John Carradine as Lucky Miller

Right:  Kermit Maynard as a deputy and Jack Kirk as the Sheriff

 

Jerome Cowan as Jerry Johnson, Hal Taliaferro as Steve Moreland {Corlan?) and Arthur Loft as Bulldog Bailey

 

Others in the cast:

Dick Wessell as Buck Walters

Bryon Foulger as the Justice of the Peace

Charles Wilson as Mr. Hawkins

Slim Whitaker as Ed, a henchman

Arthur Loft as Bulldog Bailey

Eddy Waller as Davis, a farmer

Helen MacKellar as Mrs. Davis

Fred Burns as buckboard driver

Henry Wills as a deputy

Tom London as a henchman

Bud Osborne as a henchman

 

Stunts:

Yakima Canutt

Henry Wills

 

Songs:

Jubilation Jamboree (Glenn Spencer) under credits
- first song is cut (possibly the Pioneers singing "Jubilation Jamboree")
Back in Your Own Back Yard (Al Jolson / Billy Rose / Dave Dreyer) Roy and band
- another song cut (possibly "Horses and Women" by Smiley Burnette
Farr Brothers’ instrumental
Medley – Springtime in the Rockies (Robert Sauer/Milt Taggart) / Tumbling Tumbleweeds (Bob Nolan) / Highways are Happy Ways (Larry Shaw/ Tommy Malie / Harry Harris)
 

Plot Summary:

        Silver Spurs opens in the "lonely hearts" department of a Chicago newspaper, the News-Register. Millie and Mary are chatting when Buck Walters enters with an unusual request. He promises $500 to Millie when she finds a wife for his employer, Jerry Johnson, who has recently inherited a 50,000-acre cattle ranch. Mary, recognizing Johnson's name as newsworthy, flips on the intercom, leaves the room and listens to the rest of the conversation in her boss's office with him. Both Bulldog Bailey, her boss, and Mary scent a story but when Bulldog suggests that Mary go west and marry Johnson herself, she balks. He shames her into going ahead with the plan and promises she can take Millie with her.

 

 

        The next scene is an outdoor meeting in the West. Roy Rogers, Johnson's foreman, and the townspeople have invested in an oil well but need additional capital to finish the project. The railroad will advance them the money if Johnson will give them the right of way across his cattle range but Johnson is a playboy and a drunken idiot and is not interested. The mayor pleads for two more weeks and, looking at the sad-faced woman in front, the railroad official agrees.

        (There is one frame of a cut sequence left in the film and it is obvious that a song was cut. It may have been "Jubilation Jamboree".)

 

 

        Roy and Frog Millhouse consent to ride to the Johnson ranch to try to change Jerry's mind and they do meet him on the road but Jerry won't stop. He is inebriated and his passenger, Lucky Miller, owner of the Frontier Lodge club, twits him about meeting his mail order bride. Jerry, who can't remember anything about it, tries to get Lucky to take the woman off his hands when she comes.

 

 

        They overtake a buckboard on the road and Jerry, crowding the wagon off the roads, keeps on toward town. The team runs away and the driver falls out, leaving the passengers (Mary and Millie) helpless behind a runaway team. Roy and Trigger catch up with them and Roy jumps onto the wagon tongue, stops the team and is bawled out by Mary when she sees the buckboard has lost a wheel. She demands a taxi so Roy puts her up on Trigger in front of him and Frog does likewise with Millie. While riding with Roy, she inspects Trigger's tack and notes that Roy's rifle stock has a notch in it.

 

 

        They enter the Frontier Lodge where Jerry has been gambling. Jerry hides under the table when Lucky arrives with Millie and Mary. When he sees how attractive the women are, he crawls out from under the table and is ready to marry Mary right there and then. Mary demurs and they set the date for the morning. In the meantime, they sit down at a table and have a "pre-nuptial party".

 

 

        A few minutes previous to this, Lucky brought his henchman, Steve, up to date on Jerry. Apparently, Jerry's father was well aware of his playboy son's penchant for drinking and gambling and in his will stated that Jerry couldn't sell the ranch - but his widow could, if Jerry had a widow. Steve got the picture.

 

 

        Roy, Frog and the Judge enter the lodge and Roy makes one more plea to Jerry who puts him  off and persuades him to sing first. Lucky introduces him and Roy sings Back in Your Own Back Yard accompanied by the studio orchestra.

 

 

        When the song is finished, Roy approaches Jerry again and this time he is turned down flat. Roy tells him what he thinks of him and Jerry punches him. Roy returns the punch and quits his job before Jerry can fire him. Frog keeps the bouncer from interfering.

 

 

        The next morning, Jerry drives up to his ranch house with his new bride and Millie, in time to see Roy strapping his gear to his saddle. Roy tells him again that he's quit and that the Sons of the Pioneers have quit, too. Jerry is certain that Roy has instigated the whole thing just to create problems for him and he goes into the house to call the Sheriff.

 

 

        Meanwhile, Mary is trying to tell Jerry that the whole wedding thing was just to get a newspaper story but he won't listen and he slips his gun into his pocket. Mary gets Millie to persuade Frog to take them away in his jalopy and, of course, Jerry blames this on Roy, too. He draws his pistol on Roy who shakes it out of his hand. They exchange a few punches and Jerry jumps into his car to follow his bride. Roy has a quick word with Bob and he hops on Trigger to try to stop Jerry. Coming up beside him on the highway, he shouts at Jerry to stop but Jerry is insanely angry.

 

 

        Steve is waiting at the top of the hill and shoots Jerry. The car goes into the river and Roy arrives on Trigger too late. Roy attaches his lariat to the saddle horn and rappels down the rope to Jerry's body, throws it over his shoulder and instructs Trigger to back up. Steve sees his opportunity and trades rifles with Roy while Roy is still below the road. Steve takes out his knife to cut the rope when two riders appear in the distance. He leaves before his presence is noticed.

 

 

        The sheriff, his deputy and the Sons of the Pioneers all arrive from different directions and assist Roy up the final few steps with his load. The sheriff, recalling what Jerry has just told him on the telephone, regrets to inform Roy that he'll have to arrest him on suspicion of murder. He removes what he thinks is Roy's rifle from his saddle scabbard, ejects the spent cartridge and smells the rifle. It all looks bad for Roy. Bob leans over and whispers to Pat who leaves the group and ropes both the sheriff and his deputy. The Pioneers close in and disarm the lawmen, tie them up snugly and leave.

       

 

        Back at the Frontier Lodge, the two women are trying to decide what to do next. Mary has a call in to Bulldog Bailey and, while she waits for it to come through, she looks for Lucky. She's told he's down in the tack room so she goes there, finds Buck Walters and a saddle with Roy's rifle still in the scabbard. She recognizes Buck from the time she saw him in the Lonely Hearts office but he doesn't recognize her yet. She asks if Roy has been apprehended yet. Steve strolls in in time to hear her, sees her looking at the rifle and when she leaves he tells Buck to get rid of the gun. Buck finally remembers who she is and the two men decide to ask Lucky what they should do.

 

 

        Mary's call comes through. She talks to her boss in Chicago and tells him that Lucky Miller is behind everything but that Roy did the actual killing of her husband. Lucky, listening in on another phone, decides that she's just signed her death warrant and Steve is told to arrange an "accident".

 

 

        Steve takes the two women riding the next day right to the edge of a high cliff and, as he raises his whip to hit Mary's horse, Roy appears and stops him. Steve reaches for his gun but Frog has him covered. Roy leads Mary's horse and Frog takes Millie's to the ghost town cabin where the Sons of the Pioneers are in hiding. The women don't know how close they were to death and Roy doesn't tell them so Mary is still hostile.

 

 

        Here, in the old ghost town, the Sons of the Pioneers decide to play some music while Roy talks, or attempts to talk to Mary who is not interested in listening. He discovers that she has seen his rifle at Miller's and knows now that Lucky is involved. He and Frog leave.

 

 

        Roy and Frog creep into a sleeping Buck's room to remove his gun from his holster and Roy ties him up. Roy throws the end of the rope over a beam in the room and attaches the end to Trigger's saddle while Buck watches. He questions Buck about who was responsible for Jerry's death and Buck begins to tell all he knows. Unknown to them both, Lucky is listening in at the window. While Roy runs for the sheriff, Lucky knifes Buck and puts the blame on Roy. This time the sheriff puts Roy behind bars.

 

 

 

        Roy, in jail, is visited by Frog who has an awful toothache. Roy asks for Frog's gun belt, removes the powder from the cartridges and pours it into the lock of his cell. He adds a bit of blanket as a fuse, lights it and blows the cell door open. He and Frog escape into the night once more and head straight back to the ghost town where the women are in the care of the Pioneers.

 

 

        Now comes a pretty job of riding. Roy is headed back for the ghost town with Frog and he decides to take a shortcut down a steep embankment and through a river to cut off time. Frog declines and goes the long way, but the stunt man who rode that palomino - it wasn't Trigger - down that bank was a superb horseman.

 

 

        Lucky and his gang reach the ghost town before Roy does and they take the Pioneers by surprise. Roy sneaks up on the man left guarding the horses, jumps on him from a tree and then stampedes the horses. Lucky runs to the door and then sends half his crew after the horses. Roy manages to get in the door and holds them up just as they begin tying the Pioneers. He sends Lucky to the doorway at gunpoint, relieving him of another gun as he does, to tell his men to hold off. They don't and the battle is on. Bob grabs one of the villains but he is shaken off.

 

 

        Roy and Bob decide that the women must be taken away from danger and they leave from the back door to run to the barn. No saddles! The saddles are all in the house with the Pioneers but there is an old buggy and set of harness on the wall. Roy sets out to harness the horses and Bob hides the girls under a dusty rug in the back of the buggy. Then the race is on and it's all set for Yakima Canutt's stunt. (See the full explanation by Yak himself.)

 

 

        Frog finally arrives, catches up with the buggy and swings onto it, grabs a rifle and disposes of two of the four men following. The two remaining villains see Frog lose his rifle and they catch up with the buggy. One of the men jumps onto the team. Roy, leaving the reins with Frog, leaps onto the near team and the two men fight. Roy is knocked off, the buggy passes over him, he grabs the rear frame, swings up, climbs back into the wagon and overcomes the outlaw who is driving the team.

 

 

        Now with Roy back in control of the team, he stops, asks the women to leave their hats with him and run with Frog to hide. Roy takes the wagon pin out. Steve and Lucky watch as the team runs free while the wagon careens over the bank and Roy falls into the river with it. The women's hats rise to the surface, giving the impression that they've drowned. Roy quickly swims close to the bank where he can't be seen. Lucky and Steve ride close to the embankment and, just as they are congratulating themselves, the sheriff and his deputy ride up to them, followed by Frog and the two women. Lucky and Steve are finally arrested for murder.

 

 

        The film ends as it began, with a meeting of the townspeople. But this time it's a happy occasion because Mary, as Mrs. Jerry Johnson is giving the railroad the right-of-way across her land. Roy stumbles and stutters a bit, trying to tell her how happy he is that she's decided to stay so she, taking pity on him, tells him to sing it and he joins the Pioneers in a medley of songs.

 

 

        Poor Frog, still suffering from his aching wisdom tooth, is trying to avoid committing himself to Millie when the branch she is swinging lets go, hits him across the face and knocks his tooth out!

 

 

Professional Stills

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Fred Sopher

 

 

 

 

John Carradine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

 

 


 

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

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

 

 

    

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

   

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant

 

Australian

Courtesy of Buddy Bryant