“Rid’n Down the Canyon”, at four stars, was pleasant with Gabby Hayes as Roy’s sidekick. Rustlers are stealing horses.
“On the Old Spanish Trail”, at five-stars, is a surprise with the great singer, Tito Guivar, really yipping it up in a Mexican style song. I cannot believe I had not heard of Tito Guivar. Apparently, he was a star in South America and Mexico. He shows some fine horsemanship. Some excellent songs by Roy, and an exceptional one by Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers. The great value of this movie is the exceptional songs. The story holds your attention. Tito Guivar shows himself quite the athlete, and leading man, overshadowing Roy in parts.
The picture-quality is not good, but nothing to distract from enjoying the movie. I wish someone would restore this, as it is a top-ten, Roy Rogers film.
The script of “On the Old Spanish Trail” is poorly written in parts, and was filmed on a B-budget. Yet, the script-formula of: the pretty, girl, here Estelita Rodriguez, quarreling with Tito, chases on horseback, fist-fights, gun-fights, and great songs you cannot find today, makes this an excellent film.
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Ridin’ Down the Canyon, 1942 film
The film begins with a herd of horses in a canyon. The government is trying to restock the herds of wild horses so they can breed with thoroughbreds. [Thoroughbreds become decadent because of their inbreeding.] Is this a subsidy to an unmentionable special interest group? A young boy records a radio program onto a shellac disk. [High technology of the day.] There is a $10,000 reward for the gang that steals horses. Bobby and Gabby find three suspects. Roy Rogers and his band come by to help. Then there is another song, followed by some comic relief. The result of this rustling could be the end of the reclamation project. Then we learn about the villains. There is more comedy, then another song.
Roy and his band spot the rustlers and the horses. There is a chase for action. One rider is caught. Wooster takes the rustler into town. Or does he? There is another song. Will Wooster make an error in judgment? Can those recordings of old broadcasts contain a clue? Can today’s broadcast have a code for the rustlers? Mr. Jordan calls the sheriff for a frame-up. Roy and his band are jailed. Can Bobby do anything? No smoking? Will they hurt Bobby? Roy and his band break out to find and catch the rustlers. Bobby gets the reward. There is another song, then a comic skit.
This is another detective story in a western setting. It involves the loss of property for a small business to enrich the crooked owner of a large business. These overtones would lead to an end to westerns by the 1950s.