Roy Rogers is at his best in this classic Western! Roy sings, pursues bad guys on his horse, and can hold his own with a gun or in a fight. Gabby Hayes adds humor as “Grandpa” Whittaker, and his granddaughter, Mary (Pauline Moore), takes a liking to Roy, and he to her.
Grandpa Gabby and Mary are riding on a train when Jesse James shows up and robs the travelers. Although he steals a watch and chain from Gabby, he didn’t get the cash he was hiding, savings from a gold strike in California. It’s said that more babies were being named “Jesse” after Jesse James, and so the outlaw’s first name has become quite popular! And good old Grandpa gave up his watch and chain to prevent a dog on board from being shot.
The plot thickens as a dastardly bank chief, named Wyatt, plots to rob his own bank and to leave the bank’s customers empty handed. Displaying another side to his nature, Jesse James, along with brother Frank in tow, visits his aging mother to check on her. After Wyatt’s bank is struck with explosives, the question is: did the James brothers commit the robbery?
Roy Rogers shows up (he’s a peace detective) to try to solve the crime, but some other men plot to get to the James brothers first to claim the reward on them. Later, Roy rescues Mary at her home as she is about to fall off a ladder outside. He learns she and Grandpa Gabby are having to rent out their home to survive. Roy secretly plans to get the reward for the James brothers so he can help Mary and Grandpa out. Roy sings a catchy song about Echo Mountain, and Mary takes a liking to him.
Roy will have a lot to contend with, as some bad guys torch Jesse James’ mother’s house and a newspaper headline says Jesse’s mother and half-brother were painfully burned. In a light moment, Frank and Jesse are walking away from a table when a man slams his fist on the table, and they jump, thinking it was a gunshot.
The movie is very entertaining, even featuring a scene where Roy has his horse buck him off on purpose, so he can secretly speak for a moment to Mary, who stands nearby. And Roy and Grandpa Gabby work with some law officials to fool Jesse and his gang into thinking they are on their side.
The occasional good side to Jesse and Frank James is on display when Roy treats an injured hand, and the two criminals plan to stake Roy to a doctor’s education because they believe he has a knack for it. Roy tests Jesse when he takes a chance that Jesse won’t shoot him in the back.
This Western adventure features some gun play, but it has merited our Dove seal for All Ages as none of the content is gratuitous and the moral lessons it features about helping others out is commendable.
The Dove Take
Roy Rogers sings, rides, pursues criminals, and falls for a girl in this action-packed and family friendly movie.