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West of Cheyenne

(aka "Swingtime in the Saddle" )

 

Columbia Pictures Corporation of California

Production Dates: March 30 - April 7, 1938

Release Date: 1938 06 30

Running time: 53 or 59 minutes

Production Number 305

Location: Agoura / Albertson Ranch


Credits

Cast

Songs

Plot Summary

Production and Publicity Stills

Posters

Press Books

Glass Slide

This movie is available on DVD.

 

This happy-go-lucky entry in the Columbia / Starrett series sees Pat Brady firmly ensconced in his role as comic and Bob Nolan ably filling his second lead role. The one drawback was the fact that another baritone was dubbed in over Bob's. The story is the familiar one of a rustler and his gunnies attempting to get away with murder. But the regular cast is like a family and their fun together obviously carries on off the screen as well. Pat Brady is a simple fellow causing a good many laughs. One of the heavies, little Art Mix, has a speaking part and a chance to show off his outstanding horsemanship.

 

 


Cast:

 

Iris Meredith as Jean Wayne and Charles Starrett as Brad Buckner

 

Bob Nolan as Bob, the foreman, and the Sons of the Pioneers as Buckner's ranch hands

 

Right: Dick Curtis as Link Murdock, George Chesebro as Gorman and Art Mix as Cinch

Right: John Tyrrell as Trigger, the bartender

 

Left: Edward LeSaint as J B Wayne and (right) Jack Rockwell as the Sheriff, Edward Peil Sr as the deputy

 

Left: Edmund Cobb as Dirkin and Art Mix as Cinch, henchmen

Right: Ernie Adams as Shorty, henchman

 

Frank Ellis as Cal, henchman

 

Others in the Cast:

Dick Botiller, henchman

Tex Cooper


Songs:

1. Tumbling Tumbleweeds over the opening credits

2. Over the Santa Fe Trail (Tim Spencer)
3.
Biscuit Blues (Bob Nolan)
4.
Happy Birthday to Iris
5.
Night Falls on the Prairie (Bob Nolan)
6.
Over the Santa Fe Trail to fadeout

 

Plot Summary

A group of riders with a buckboard move into the scene, singing “Over the Santa Fe Trail” as they move slowly along the road. Brad Buckner accompanies the group on his big white horse and it is soon obvious that the other men take their orders from him.

 


They pull up in front of the gate of a rundown ranch and take a good look. Brad lets his foreman know that the last couple of owners had been killed and Bob agrees that might be the reason the price was so low.

 


Pat interrupts with an irritable query about when they’d quit talking and think about eating. Brad yells, “All right. Last one to the ranch slings the grub,” knowing that Pat driving the buckboard would be last. They all take off at top speed, laughing. They win, of course, and Pat is furious. He’s tired of being the cook.


From the cover of some brush nearby, two rough-looking men watch the race to the ranch house and conclude that someone has come to take over the ranch. Cinch raises his rifle to shoot Brad but Dirkin knocks it up in time.

 


The men below hear the shot and are on the alert but not yet worried. The outlaws leave to warn their boss.

 

 

Bob and Brad walk in to look the house over and are quite pleased with what they see.

 

 

They raise their hands when Jean Wayne holds a rifle on them from the stairs. She demands to know who they are and what they want.

 

 

When Brad identified himself and introduced Bob, she lowered the rifle and came down the stairs. Her father, the agent who was selling the ranch, had been called out of town and sent his daughter out in his stead to meet them.

 


Pat kicks the door open then and the three in the house turn quickly with their guns at ready. But Pat is just loaded with groceries for the kitchen. He drops his load and raises his hands.

 

 

Jean helps him pick up the groceries and invites herself to dinner. All of a sudden Pat is content to be the cook. Jean is very pretty, after all. Bob and Brad try to persuade him that they would be the best cooks but all in vain.

 


A solitary horseman gallops into town and heads upstairs in the saloon to see his boss, Link Murdock. Dirkin lets him know about the new owners of the ranch and Murdock is visibly upset. He has been holding rustled steers on the deserted ranch. He intimates, as he checks his revolver, that he will take care of those men.

 


Back at the ranch, the men are finishing their dinner and compliment Jean. Bob makes much of the melt-in-your-mouth biscuits until Jean tells him that Pat made them. Bob has an immediate pain in the stomach and falls off his chair.

 

 

They all get their instruments and sing “Biscuit Blues”.

 

 

Pat tosses a biscuit onto a plate and the plate shatters. The song ends in a free for all with Pat getting the worst of it.

 


As they calm down once more and take their seats at the table, we see Link Murdock outside in the dark nearing the window. Bob sees the barrel of Dirkin’s gun through the curtain, yells a warning and sweeps the lamp off the table, plunging the room into darkness just as the revolver roars. When they see it is impossible to follow the gunman in the dark, Ann tries to dissuade Brad from buying the place. Brad is more determined than ever to have the ranch and tells her that he’ll be in town tomorrow to see her father and complete the purchase. He asks the men to saddle his horse and hers. Bob cocks an eyebrow, grins, and moves out to do as he was asked.

 


Back in the saloon, Dirkin reported his failure to Murdock. Murdock asks Shorty to come up to his office.

 


In the next scene, we watch the Buckner hands gallop toward town and Cinch race ahead of them to report to Murdock.

 

 

Murdock asks his henchmen to stand by and gets Cinch to ask Wayne to step over to see him about buying a ranch. As he leaves his office, Wayne tells Cinch he is expecting a man named Buckner shortly. He asks Shorty to ask Buckner to wait for him.

 

 

The Buckner crew canters into town and Cinch misdirects them to the saloon, against Wayne’s orders. His purpose is to create a reason for shooting Buckner.

 


As Brad walks into the saloon, he finds Wayne concluding some business with Murdock.

 

 

He saunters over to the long bar to ask the barkeep to point out Wayne to him. Murdock winks at Shorty who immediately starts a ruckus. He accuses Murdock or being crooked. Murdock pretends to hit Shorty and Buckner interferes then Murdock and Buckner end up fighting, as planned.

 

 

One of Murdock’s hired gunnies quietly draws his gun and prepares to shoot Brad but Bob, fast on the draw, shoots it out of his hand. Bob warns the rest of the crew to watch everyone for foul play. Wayne is astonished to find Shorty rooting for Murdock when he had apparently been at odds with him.

 


The sheriff enters in time to prevent Murdock from shooting Brad. Bob attempts to explain to the sheriff what really happened but Brad stops him and they all leave the saloon.

 

 

Murdock tries to plant a seed of suspicion in the sheriff’s mind when he intimates that the Bar W would make a good hangout for a gang of outlaws.

 

 

Outside, Bob demands to know why Brad hadn’t let him explain to the sheriff. Brad puts him off and follows Wayne to his office. Wayne can’t put his hands the papers until Jean walks in and finds them for him. Jean sees that Brad is a mess from his fight with Murdock and starts brushing him down.

 

 

Brad gazes at her fatuously. Bob gets a chuckle out of this and starts to tease them both. Brad ignores him. Jean smilingly tells him he should stay out of saloons. He answers that he wouldn’t have been in the saloon except that her father had asked him to meet him there.

 

 

Wayne immediately states he’d never given such an order. They discuss reasons for Murdock wanting him at the saloon and decide it had all been staged but for what reason? Bob recalls seeing Shorty rooting for Murdock. None of them can find a reason for wanting all the owners of the Bar W dead but Brad intends to find out. He signs the papers and the ranch is his. The outlaw gang at the saloon watches for them to come out.

 


Back in Wayne’s office, Brad suggests a party and Wayne agrees whole heartedly because it’s Jean’s birthday. Outside, Brad tells the boys of the forthcoming party and Pat offers to bake a cake.

 


The sheriff tells his deputy he’s going to follow the Buckner crew out of town.

 

 

Murdock and his henchmen watch the group canter down the street and when the sheriff follows, they become alarmed. Murdock’s plan had been to ambush Buckner’s crew but they didn’t want the sheriff as a witness. Murdock sends Shorty out to warn the boys to lay off for now but it's already too late. Murdock’s men hide their horses and carry on the ambush as planned.

 

 

As both sides are reloading, Shorty dashes in and tells the outlaws to leave before the sheriff gets there.

 

 

Bob notices that they’re leaving and head out after them. The Pioneers lose their quarry but Brad continues after Shorty alone.

 

 

Brad bulldogs Shorty from his horse and tries to make him talk about what is behind all this. Shorty refuses to talk so Brad puts his own hat on the outlaw and sets him on his horse.
 


Shorty, looking like Brad from a distance, leaves with the Pioneers and the rest of the outlaws think everyone has gone home. The outlaws go back to look for Shorty and Brad watches from where he is hidden in the brush. He recognizes them, listens and finds out there is another man behind it all.

 

 

Brad returns to his punchers and they prepare to hang Shorty, or make him believe they will so he will talk.

 

 

Brad needs to know who is the leader of the motley crew and Shorty is just ready to talk when they are all interrupted. The sheriff has been watching all this but interferes when he thinks they are taking the law into their own hands. Shorty escapes. Brad tells the sheriff all he knows and ends up inviting him to Jean’s party to talk things over.

 

 

Meanwhile, Shorty returns to town and dashes up to let Murdock know what happened and how Buckner was hiding in the bushes. Dirkin, alarmed, wants to leave town but Murdock calms them all.

 

 

The sheriff arrives and they watch him examine Shorty’s horse before he comes in. Murdock orders his men to stay upstairs and he goes down to meet the sheriff who asks him if he’s seen Shorty. He also tells him that Buckner is coming in to swear out a warrants for the gang’s arrest in the morning. Murdock promises to send Shorty to see the sheriff when he sees him. Murdock returns to his men and smilingly tells them that while Brad’s crew is in town tomorrow, they will be out driving cattle off the Bar W. He doesn't realize that he is thinking just what the sheriff hoped he would think.

 

 

At Jean’s party that night, the sheriff keeps an enthralled Pat’s attention with a bear story. Everyone is more entertained by Pat’s gullibility than by the story. Gullible Pat swallows it whole.

 


“How about the big surprise of the evening?” The Pioneers grab their instruments and Pat brings in a flaming cake. They sing Happy Birthday to Jean and then have her blow out the candles. She blows out all but 7. “That means you’re going to be an old maid,” announces Pat. “Not if I can help it,” Brad responds. Brad cuts the cake and passes Jean the first piece.

 

 

Inside the cake is a small packet containing Brad’s mother’s earrings, a gift for Jean.

 

 

Bob tells Pat he did a nice job on the cake and he’s going to eat it if it kills him.

 

 

Later on that evening, Mr. Wayne asks the boys to sing so Karl chooses “Night Falls on the Prairie”. Brad asks Jean to dance and dances her right out into the night.

 

 

They sit on a bench and Brad tells her that there’s something he will ask her as soon as the ranch is safe to live on.

 


Wayne decides it’s time to head home and they go outside just as Murdock quietly rides in. He sneaks up close enough to hear them say that they really weren’t coming into town in the morning, that they would be combing the ranch instead. Murdock heads back for town, furious. The sheriff will ride along with Wayne and his daughter.

 


Murdock ambushes the Sheriff, Mr. Wayne and Jean and takes them all captive. He hopes Buckner and his crew will ride to town looking for them, giving Murdock the chance to move his herd.
 


The next morning sees the herd being held while the captives are just waking. Wayne looks around and sees only Shorty guarding them. He signals to Jean to work on loosening her bonds under her blankets.

 

 

The guard changes and Dirkin takes over Shorty’s duties. Jean pretends sleep, assembles her blankets to look as if she’s in then and silently disappears into the bushes.

 

 

Shorty brings coffee for the captives just as Jean is saddling a horse. Her father asks Shorty to let her sleep awhile longer. Jean races to Buckner’s.

 


Out on the hill, Dirkin sees her racing on her palomino and shoots at her but misses. He heads back to report to Murdock.

 

 

The crew is waiting at the Bar W, sees Jean coming at a dead run and races to meet her. She leads the men back to them.

 

 

Murdock orders his men to get the herd moving and ambush Brad’s crew.

 

 

The sheriff and Wayne melt into the bush in the confusion, meet Brad and tell him what’s happening. Brad tells them the herd can wait, that they must catch Murdock first of all.

 

 

Murdock’s crew fires first but they are very poor shots. The only fatalities are to their own side.

 

 

Murdock tells his men he’s gone for shells but he’s actually escaping and leaving them hold the bag to buy himself time. Jean notices Murdock slide out to leave and tells Brad.  Murdock enters town at a run, opens his safe and grabs as much money as he can.

 

 

He warns the bartender to keep everyone out. Brad is too canny to burst into the saloon so throws a barrel in first. He shoots the bartender then runs up the stairs to Murdock’s office. A fist fight reduces the office to a shambles and then both men fall down the stairs, jump up and continue fighting.

 

 

The townspeople gather at the doors but no one comes inside. It’s a closely matched fight between the two big men but Brad wins. The deputy pushes his way inside in time to arrest Murdock.

 

 

Just then, Jean dashes in on her palomino and races in to Brad. The townsfolk stop at the door.

 


The last scene sees the Pioneers walking their horses back into town with their prisoners in tow, singing “Over the Santa Fe Trail”. Brad tries to propose to Jean but stumbles pitifully so she answers his unspoken words.

 

 



Production and Publicity Stills

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

 

 

 

Courtesy of Earl Bryant

 

 

Private Collection

 

Private Collection

 

Courtesy of Jan Scott

 

 

 

Art Mix

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 


 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Bruce Hickey

 

 

 

 

Glass Slide

 

 

Press Books

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Les Adams

 

Courtesy of Les Adams