Roy Rogers Movies – Descriptions, plot outlines, and photos:
The Roy Rogers movie “Song Of Nevada” is the story of a charming cowboy (Roy Rogers) who tries to bring uppity New York socialite Joan Barabee (Dale Evans) back to her roots on her father’s ranch in Nevada. Roy’s good-natured but gently ornery character really steals the show in this movie, with wonderful reinforcements from actors Mary Lee, Thurston Hall, and Lloyd Corrigan. Dale Evans plays a more subdued character in this film compared to “Heldorado” or “Lights Of Old Santa Fe,” but really shines in her happier scenes and when she’s singing. For a complete synopsis of “Song Of Nevada” please scroll down.
Warning! There are plot spoilers in the following synopsis.
“Song Of Nevada” opens at the Club Casanova in New York City where we learn that John Barabee (played by Thurston Hall) feels he has lost his daughter Joan (Dale Evans) to a haughty, socialite lifestyle. He also learns that she is planning to marry Rollo Bingham, a man John Barabee is convinced is just after his daughter for her money. Heartbroken, John tries to get Joan (whom he affectionately calls “Jenny”) to return to their ranch in Nevada with him, but Joan refuses and John Barabee flies home to Nevada without her. The location of the movie then shifts to Nevada, where it stays for the remainder of the film.
On the flight home John Barabee’s plane has to set down in the Nevada countryside for repairs. As he takes a walk through the open country John meets up with several young cowboys (played by Roy Rogers and the Sons Of The Pioneers) on the trail with a cow herd. John and the young men take a liking to each other and John Barabee never returns to the airplane, choosing instead to ride along with the cowboys. Just before reaching his home John Barabee and Roy see a newspaper telling the tragic story that the plane John Barabee was supposed to be on had crashed at the bottom of Prentice Dam, killing all on board. John Barabee decides to remain “dead” so his daughter will be forced to return to the ranch to settle his affairs. He enlists Roy’s help to get to know his daughter while she’s at home and help her return to being the wonderful girl she used to be.
“Song Of Nevada” sticks to the simple plot line of John Barabee choosing to let the world think he is dead so that the handsome cowboy Roy Rogers can try to bring Joan Barabee back to her roots. Roy Rogers is long on charm in this movie, flashing his dimples when he smiles and his famous twinkling eyes pretty much all the time. The movie has a lot of fun in the middle with the Mesa County Frontier Days Celebration, which provides a great excuse for Mary Lee, playing a character named Kitty Hanley, to charm the socks off of viewers with her performance of “The Wigwam Song.” Backed by the Sons Of The Pioneers, Ms. Lee and the Pioneers really have fun with this song, leaving you humming the tune long after the movie is over. The Frontier Days Celebration also features an exciting stagecoach race of three stagecoaches, six horses per team. The movie ends happily with Roy saving John Barabee’s life, and Joan giving up Rollo Bingham and her fancy lifestyle in a big city for her true home in Nevada. The movie closes with a big production number that includes lots of singing (some of it with the principal cast on horseback), acrobatic dancing, and trick ropers.
The best part of “Song Of Nevada” is Roy Rogers. With a minimal plot line, fewer stunts than some of his other movies, and Dale Evans playing a subdued character in this one, it is Roy’s laid back, charming, gently ornery presence that really carries the movie.
Warning! There are plot spoilers in the following highlights.
Playing Kitty Hanley, the actress Mary Lee was only 19 years old when “Song Of Nevada” was released. While she has very little time on screen, her youthful performance of the lighthearted “The Wigwam Song” in the middle of the movie is a real scene stealer. She’s backed by the Sons Of The Pioneers (who don’t get a lot of time in the movie either) singing in deep bass voices. The combination of Ms. Lee and the Sons Of The Pioneers makes the song a real “ear bug” (a song that you can’t get out of your head after you hear it), and their rendition of it is more memorable than when Ms. Lee sings the same song at the end of the movie with female accompaniment.
The round-faced writer, director, and veteran character actor Lloyd Corrigan plays the comical Professor Hanley in “Song Of Nevada.” Professor Hanley is a slightly shady character that nonetheless has a good heart and eventually joins forces with Roy and John Barabee to bring Joan back to the ranch. Lloyd Corrigan’s performance in this movie has just the right touch all the way through, and a scene toward the end of the movie takes advantage of Mr. Corrigan’s smooth, fast-talking abilities. You might recognize Mr. Corrigan as having also appeared in the Roy Rogers movie “Lights Of Old Santa Fe” (1944) as the fast-talking radio personality Marty Maizely.
The Stagecoach Race
“Song Of Nevada” doesn’t have as much action as some Roy Rogers movies, but it does have a fun stagecoach race in the middle of the movie. Each of the three stagecoaches in the race has a team of six horses, and we get to see them racing all out, which is a pretty site for Western movie fans. For a little extra action one of the coaches knocks down the post to a large overhead gate, causing the driver of the following coach to duck underneath the fallen overhead of the gate as he passes under it. The stagecoaches also cross a river, and at the end of the race one of the coaches has a high-speed wreck.