Roy Rogers Movies – Descriptions, plot outlines, and photos:
The Roy Rogers movie “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” is a classic Roy Rogers movie. It features Roy Rogers, his golden palomino stallion Trigger, Dale Evans, Gabby Hayes, the Sons Of The Pioneers, and a light, entertaining plot with just enough singing, action, and bad guys to keep things interesting. Dale Evans is once again at her best in this one, playing a feisty role that brings out the chemistry between herself and Roy Rogers, reminding us why their movie personas have been internationally popular and famous for decades. The Sons Of The Pioneers and Gabby Hayes are also heavily featured in the movie and they deliver superb, toe-tapping music and charming characters. For a complete synopsis of “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” please scroll down.
Warning! There are plot spoilers in the following synopsis.
In “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” Roy Rogers plays Roy, a singer and rodeo performer. As the movie opens he is introduced to Marjorie “Margie” Brooks (played by Dale Evans), a young woman who is owner of Brooks International Rodeo, an old and respected rodeo company. Margie and the audience both soon learn that her rodeo company is on the brink of financial ruin, a fact that has been kept from her by her friend and manager Gabby Whittaker (played by George “Gabby” Hayes). Gabby is an honest man and has only kept Margie’s financial troubles from her to protect her while he attempted to turn the business around. Though friends with Roy Rogers and the Sons Of The Pioneers, Gabby is too old-fashioned to hire them as entertainers for Brooks Rodeo, feeling strongly that singers just don’t have a place in a rodeo company.
Margie is being courted by a man named Frank Madden who not only wants to marry Margie, he wants her to combine Brooks International Rodeo with his newer and currently more successful rodeo company, Madden World Wide Rodeo. Madden soon hires Roy Rogers and the Sons Of The Pioneers for his rodeo company, but Roy and the Pioneers quit almost as soon as they’re hired when they learn Madden only wants them to sing and won’t allow them to ride and perform as specialty acts, too. Needing jobs, they happen upon the Brooks ranch and are quickly hired by Gabby (who has changed his mind about singers in a rodeo company) for both their singing and their riding.
As Gabby, Roy, and the Sons Of The Pioneers are on their way to the first performance of the season for Brooks Rodeo a mysterious man sneaks into their camp at night, running off the livestock and setting fire to the wagons. The damage is so bad that the rodeo company can’t perform, and Roy decides to fake the performance to help keep Margie’s spirits up. He manages to borrow sound equipment and special sound effects from a radio station, and arranges for Margie to get lost on the way to the rodeo so she is forced to listen to it on the radio. Margie is ecstatic with the successful way the rodeo sounds, and as her formerly cool feelings for Roy begin to thaw she starts making big plans for her rodeo company. She is crushed when Frank Madden finds out about the phony rodeo performance and tells her about it, and she finally agrees to marry Frank and combine their rodeo companies. Just as she is walking down the aisle Roy is able to find out that it was Frank Madden’s hired man that sabotaged Brooks Rodeo, putting a stop to Margie’s marriage and helping to get Brooks Rodeo back on its feet.
The best part of “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” is the classic pairing of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans mixed in with strong showings from Gabby Hayes and the Sons Of The Pioneers, all combined with a light and fast-paced plot with plenty of Western action. Roy and Dale were always at their best when Roy’s good-guy orneriness was combined with Dale playing a feisty role, and “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” knows how to make the most of the two of them. They are backed by Gabby Hayes, who set the standard for playing the crusty but kind-hearted sidekick, and also by the Sons Of The Pioneers. The Pioneers get to do a lot of singing in this movie, and it’s wonderful to hear them every time. George ”Shug” Fisher and Bob Nolan also get a few speaking lines, with Shug easily handling a few comical scenes.
Warning! There are plot spoilers in the following highlights.
While it should go without saying that the music in a Roy Rogers movie should be one of the highlights, “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” delivers that implied promise exceptionally well. There are plenty of songs, several of which are the kind of upbeat, toe-tapping cowboy fun we have come to love and expect in a Roy Rogers movie. An exception is the first song in the movie, “Amor,” sung by Dale Evans, which, in our opinion, misses the mark. Another exception, although in a positive way, is the first time the title song “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” is sung in the movie. It is sung for the first time by Roy as he sits around a campfire, with soft, gentle, accompaniment by the Sons Of The Pioneers in the background. Though not one of the more upbeat songs in the movie it is beautifully done and should leave you happily relaxed and swooning in your seat.
The Sons Of The Pioneers
The Sons Of The Pioneers are all throughout “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” and they are a real treat. While only George ”Shug” Fisher and Bob Nolan get any significant speaking lines, all the Pioneers can be frequently seen singing, riding around in Roy’s car, standing in the background, or riding horses. Shug Fisher gets a couple of opportunities to show how capably he could handle comedy, and Bob Nolan’s few lines and brief singing solo during “Ride ’em Cowboy” display the engaging voice and smile behind the offers he received to star in his own movies (he adamantly declined). While it can sometimes be hard to get a good look at all the Sons Of The Pioneers in a Roy Rogers movie, they can all be clearly seen several times in “Lights Of Old Santa Fe,” such as while singing “Cowboy Jubilee” at the radio station and while singing “Ride ’em Cowboy” during the phony rodeo performance. It’s great to get a good look at the singers and musicians behind the wonderful music.
Lots Of Action
There is plenty of action in “Lights Of Old Santa Fe.” There are a couple of fun action scenes featuring George “Shug” Fisher riding a steer, and another one with Roy roping a small boat on a lake and using Trigger to pull an angry Margie (played by Dale Evans) to the shore. There is a dramatic wagon wreck into a river, and a terrific chariot race with two chariot teams of four horses abreast for each team. There’s also a little bit of trick riding and one quick scene with some trick roping.
Lloyd Corrigan once again plays a small but delightful role in a Roy Rogers movie (you might recognize him as Professor Hanley in Roy’s movie “Song Of Nevada,” 1944). This time he plays radio personality Marty Maizely, and while he doesn’t get a lot of screen time Mr. Corrigan makes every moment count, especially when he’s in the radio station doing his show “Little Nugget, the Miner’s Child.” He wholeheartedly jumps into a role requiring him to supply several different voices over the radio, then steps in as Roy’s helper in a plot to put on a phony rodeo. His quick-talking ways, voice inflections, and enthusiastic facial expressions during his radio show make him a perfect addition to the overall light-hearted feel of this movie.