AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Along the Rio Grande
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
Release Date:   7 Feb 1941
Production Date:   7 Nov--20 Nov 1940
Duration (in mins):   64
Duration (in feet):   5,774
Duration (in reels):   6
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Jeff)  
    Ray Whitley (Smokey)  
    Betty Jane Rhodes (Mary Lawry)  
    Emmett Lynn (Whopper)  
    Robert Fiske (Doc Randall)  
    Hal Taliaferro (Sheriff)  
    Carl Stockdale (Turner)  
    Slim Whitaker (Pete)  
    Monte Montague (Kirby)  
    Ruth Clifford (Paula)  
    Harry Humphrey (Pop Edwards)  
    Joe McGuinn (Rip)  
    Robert Clarke (Joe)  
    Billy Mahan (Boy)  
    Bob Baker (Jailer)  
    Ralph McCullough (Bank teller)  
    Walter McGrail (Cattle buyer)  
    Ben Corbett    

Summary: Doc Randall, the scourge of cattle ranchers, has been rustling herds and then sneaking across the border beyond the reach of the law. To avoid Doc's raids, rancher Pop Edwards sells his cattle and instructs cowhands Jeff, Whopper and Smokey to ride into town to pay off his mortgage to Turner, the banker. While Jeff and the boys ride into the town of Sweetwater, Doc visits Pop and forces him to write a note ordering Jeff to return with the money. At the bank, Jeff turns the money over to Turner and meets Mary Lawry, who is closing her account to leave town and become a cafĂ© singer. When Jeff receives Pop's note, he asks Turner to return the money, but the banker refuses, and Jeff and his sidekicks rob the safe. Back at the ranch, Doc becomes impatient waiting for Jeff and shoots Pop in the back. After Doc and his men depart, Jeff, Whopper and Smokey reach the ranch, pursued by the sheriff and his posse. Even though it is clear that Jeff robbed the bank to save Pop's life, Turner insists on bringing charges against him and his pals. The sheriff reluctantly jails the three, and in their cell, they meet Pete, a member of Doc's gang, who invites them to join in a jailbreak that night. After Doc's men rescue them from jail, Jeff, Whopper and Smokey ride with the gang to their hideout at the Cantina de Mexico where Mary is singing. When Mary sees the three "bank robbers," she become indignant and quits. The next day, Jeff rides with Doc's gang to rob a gold shipment, but when they approach the wagon, armed guards spring out and shoot at the gang. Escaping in the crossfire, Jeff and Whopper return to the cantina, where they inform Doc of the ambush. Doc suspects that he is being double-crossed, but he is unable to prove it. Jeff and Whopper next accompany Doc's men on a stage robbery, but when they near the stage, the sheriff and his men, disguised as women passengers, jump out and capture the outlaws. Jeff, who has been working with the sheriff, sends Whopper back to the cantina. At Whopper's news, Doc becomes suspicious of Jeff and his pals until Jeff returns with Pete, who had been knocked unconscious and is convinced that Jeff saved his life. The next day, while Jeff and Mary are out riding, Whopper overhears Doc and Pete planning to cross the border and tells Smokey to notify the sheriff. Unknown to Whopper, Doc has set a trap to unmask his betrayers and, after watching Smokey ride for the sheriff, assembles his gang to ambush the lawman. When Jeff returns from his ride, Whopper tells him about Doc's plan, and sensing a trap, Jeff rides after Smokey. When Smokey fails to return from town with the sheriff, Doc and his men return to the cantina, where they find Jeff, Whopper and Smokey, who claims that he rode into Sweetwater to check on the jailed outlaws. When Smokey announces that the sheriff plans to move the men the next day, Doc and Jeff decide to ambush the sheriff and rescue the men. That night, Jeff confides to Mary his plan to use the sheriff to lure Doc over the border. Paula, the cantina owner, overhears Jeff's confidence and tells Doc. The next day, as they ride along the trail to Sweetwater, Doc pulls a gun on Jeff and orders him to take a different route to avoid the sheriff's trap. Back at the cantina, Smokey learns of Doc's scheme, and he and Mary ride for the sheriff. Meanwhile, Doc and Jeff reach Sweetwater and begin fighting in the jailhouse. Just as the jailed men grab the keys and open the cell door, Jeff sneaks out the back and meets Whopper. The two hold off Doc and his gang until Smokey and the sheriff arrive and arrest the outlaws. Summoned by the sound of gunfire, Turner rides to the jailhouse, becoming infuriated when the sheriff ignores his orders to arrest Jeff. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
  Sam Ruman (Asst dir)
Producer: Bert Gilroy (Prod)
  Lee Marcus (Exec prod)
Writer: Arthur V. Jones (Scr)
  Morton Grant (Scr)
  Stuart Anthony (Story)
Photography: Frank Redman (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Albert D'Agostino (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Ed)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus dir)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Rec)
Country: United States

Songs: "Along the Rio Grande," "My Grandpap" and "Old Monterey Moon," music and lyrics by Fred Rose and Ray Whitley.
Composer: Fred Rose
  Ray Whitley

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 7/2/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10356

PCA NO: 6859
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Animal traps
  Mexican-American border region
Subjects (Minor): Bank robberies
  Female impersonation
  Prison escapes

Note: According to news items in HR , portions of this picture were shot in Victorville, CA and employed a new super-portable sound camera that eliminated the necessity of using a sound truck on location. This was the third in RKO's series of Tim Holt westerns. The series began in 1940 with Wagon Train , which was produced by Bert Gilroy and featured Holt, Ray Whitley as the singing cowboy "Smokey" and Emmett Lynn as "Whopper." Gilroy continued as producer for all twelve Holt RKO westerns. In the 1941 film Cyclone on Horseback , Lee "Lasses" White replaced Emmett Lynn as Whopper. In the 1942 film Bandit Ranger , Whopper and Smokey were replaced as Holt's sidekicks by Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards. RKO produced the series until Jul 1942 when Holt joined the military. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   1 Feb 1941.   
Daily Variety   22 Jan 1941.   
Hollywood Reporter   4 Nov 40   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Nov 40   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Nov 40   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Nov 40   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Jan 41   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   25 Jan 1941.   
Variety   29 Jan 41   p. 18.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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