AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Cyclone on Horseback
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
Release Date:   13 Jun 1941
Production Date:   10 Apr--21 Apr 1941
Duration (in mins):   58 or 60
Duration (in feet):   5,374
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Stan Bradford)  
    Marjorie Reynolds (Mary Corbin)  
    Ray Whitley (Smokey)  
    Lee "Lasses" White (Whopper)  
    Harry Worth (Cobb Wayne)  
    Dennis Moore (Jeff Corbin)  
    Eddie Dew (Pete)  
    Monte Montague (Randall)  
    Slim Whitaker (Sheriff)  
    Max Wagner (Jamison)  
    John Dilson (Williams)  
    Lew Kelly (Madison)  
    Walter Shumway (Joe)  
    Curley Wright (Da Vinci)  
    John Ince (Gould)  
    James Carlisle (Palmer)  
    Lloyd Ingraham (Doctor)  
    Cactus Mack (Cowboy)  
    Buster Steele (Cowboy)  
    Mike Luna (Cowboy)  
    Jane Patten (Secretary)  
    Marte Faust (Station agent)  
    Paul LePere (Workman)  

Summary: Stan Bradford and his ranch hands, Whopper and Smokey, are driving a herd of horses to sell to Jeff Corbin in Valley City. Jeff needs the horses to complete wiring the telephone lines in the valley, but when Stan presents Jeff's check for the livestock at the town bank, he learns that there are insufficient funds in the account. Under the pretense of helping his "friend" Jeff, Cobb Wayne pays Stan cash for the horses and promises to turn them over to Jeff. Unknown to Stan, Wayne will be awarded the telephone contract if Jeff misses his deadline, and to assure that Jeff will be delayed, Wayne intends to keep the horses. After Stan collects payment for the horses, Jeff's sister Mary arrives on the local stage, bearing bonds to pay her brother's debt. To prevent Mary from cashing the bonds, Wayne sends his men to bushwack her. As Stan, Whopper and Smokey ride back to their camp, they notice Wayne's men trailing Mary and ride to her rescue. Stan then drives Mary to her brother's camp, arriving just as an argument erupts between Jeff and his men over his inablility to pay their wages. Feeling guilty for having sold the horses, Stan offers to lend Jeff the payroll, using Mary's bonds as collateral. When Stan tries to cash the bonds, however, the banker suspects that they are stolen and has him arrested. Stan sends Smokey and Whopper to bring Mary to corroborate her story, and when she appears, the sheriff jails her for stealing the bonds and frees Stan. Stan, Whopper and Smokey return to Jeff's camp, arriving just after Jeff has been shot by one of Wayne's men. They take the wounded Jeff to town, where they learn that Mary's lawyer has substantiated her ownership of the bonds and she has been released from jail. Mary refuses to repay Stan's loan, however, unless he agrees to compete building the phone lines. To meet the deadline, Stan must string the lines through Placer Canyon, and as he and the crew drive toward the canyon, they are attacked by Wayne's men. After driving off their attackers with dynamite, Stan and the others set up camp. As a diversion, Wayne dynamites the canyon walls, and when Stan, Whopper and Smokey go to investigate, Wayne and his men knock Pete, the camp foreman, unconscious and drive the crew from the camp. With the canyon walls destroyed, Stan decides to string the wires along trees across the ridge and returns to camp. There, Pete tells them what has happened, and Stan sends Smokey to round up their ranch hands for reinforcements, while he, Mary, Whopper and Pete string the wire. As the deadline approaches, Wayne and his gang fire on the crew, wounding Pete. When Smokey and his men ride to the rescue, Stan strings the last wire just in time to beat the deadline. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
  James Casey (Asst dir)
Producer: Bert Gilroy (Prod)
Writer: Norton S. Parker (Scr)
  Tom Gibson (Story)
Photography: Harry Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Walter E. Keller (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Ed)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus dir)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Rec)
Stand In: John Daheim (Stunt double)
  Clem Fuller (Stunt double)
  Cliff Lyons (Stunt double)
  Tom Steele (Stunt double)
  Rube Schaffer (Stunt double)
  Bill Wilkus (Stunt double)
  Art Dupuis (Stunt double)
Country: United States

Songs: "Bangtail," "Tumbleweed Cowboy" and "Blue Nightfall," words and music by Fred Rose and Ray Whitley.
Composer: Fred Rose
  Ray Whitley

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 13/6/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10606 Yes

PCA NO: 7247
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
 
Subjects (Major): Brothers and sisters
  Business competition
  Duplicity
  Telephone
 
Subjects (Minor): Bankers
  Bonds
  Contracts
  Debt
  Explosions
  False arrests
  Fights
  Foremen
  Horses
  Sheriffs

Note: A HR production chart credits Morton Grant, along with Norton S. Parker, with writing the screenplay for this film, but the extent of Grant's contribution to the final film has not been confirmed. Cyclone on Horseback was the first Tim Holt film in which Lee "Lasses" White replaced Emmett Lynn as "Whopper," Holt's comic sidekick. According to a news item in HR , Lynn was unable to continue in the role because of ill health. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   28 Jun 1941.   
Daily Variety   7 Jul 1941.   
Hollywood Reporter   11 Apr 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Apr 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Apr 41   p. 2.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   22 Nov 41   p. 374.
Variety   18 Jun 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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