AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Robbers of the Range
Alternate Title: Range Robbers
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
Release Date:   18 Apr 1941
Production Date:   late Jan--mid-Feb 1941
Duration (in mins):   60-61
Duration (in feet):   5,536
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Jim Drummond)  
    Virginia Vale (Alice Tremaine)  
    Ray Whitley (Smokey)  
    Emmett Lynn (Whopper)  
    LeRoy Mason (J. R. Rankin)  
    Howard Hickman (Roy Tremaine)  
    Ernie Adams (Greeley)  
    Frank LaRue (Frank Higgins)  
    Ray Bennett (Sam Daggett)  
    Tom London (Monk Saunders)  
    Ed Cassidy (Sheriff)  
    Bud Osborne (Blackie)  
    George Melford (Colonel Lodge)  
    Malcolm McTaggart (Curly Yantis)  
    Harry Harvey (Bill Brady)  
    Hank Worden (Stage attendant)  
    Allen Lee (Stage coach driver)  
    Earl Dobbins (Henchman)  
    Frank Cordell (Henchman)  
    Lloyd Ingraham (William)  
    Marte Faust (Station agent)  
    Guy Usher (Prosecuting attorney)  
    Irving Mitchell (Defense attorney)  
    John Beck (Judge)  
    Frank O'Connor (Jury foreman)  
    Buddy Rae (Buggy driver)  
    Al St. John    

Summary: When Jim Drummond refuses to sell his ranch to J. R. Rankin, a crooked land agent representing the railroad, Rankin plots to frame Jim for the murder of William, a neighboring rancher. After Rankin's man, Monk Saunders, shoots Williams in the back, Greeley, another Rankin henchman, testifies that he witnessed Jim shoot Williams. Jim is arrested and taken to the town of Blue Mesa for trial, but as his stagecoach nears town, Rankin's men bushwack it. In the ensuing shootout, the sheriff, the coach driver and Curly Yantis, a notorious gunslinger riding passenger on the coach, are killed. Jim survives and is joined by his friends Whopper and Smokey, who tell him that Rankin has seized his ranch. To investigate Rankin's treachery, Jim decides to pose as Curly and rides to Blue Mesa, where Rankin enlists him as a hired gun. Meanwhile, Whopper and Smokey join forces with the ranchers' protective association, which is led by Roy Tremaine and his daughter Alice. To thwart Tremaine, Rankin buys the rancher's $10,000 note from the bank and threatens to foreclose unless the mortgage is paid immediately. When Jim, the sheriff and Sam Daggett, another of Rankin's men, ride to the Tremaine ranch to collect the money, Tremaine offers them $5,000 that the ranchers have raised. Jim tricks Daggett into taking the money to Rankin, and on the road to town, Smokey and Whopper rob Daggett and give the money to Tremaine, who then presents it to Rankin as the balance of his debt. When Frank Higgins, another victim of Rankin's misleadings, demands payment for his ranch, Rankin convinces him that Tremaine has double-crossed the ranchers and sold out to the railroad. Furious, Higgins rides to the Tremaine ranch, where Monk and Greeley shoot him in the back and frame Tremaine for his murder. After Tremaine is arrested, Jim takes Greeley and Monk prisoner and tells Whopper and Smokey to hold them at his ranch until Tremaine's trial. When Alice realizes that Jim is on the side of law and order, she apologizes for having doubted him. At Jim's ranch, Whopper locks Monk in a back room, where he escapes through a broken window. Upon discovering Monk's escape, Whopper terrorizes Greeley into signing a confession by pretending to beat Monk in the back room. Back in town, Jim is conferring with Rankin in his office when Monk rides in and exposes his true identity. Before Rankin can capture him, Jim gallops out of town and takes Smokey, Whopper and Greeley to the Tremaine ranch, where they find the murder weapon hidden in a well. Realizing that Rankin will try to prevent Greeley from testifying, Jim tells Smokey to assemble the ranchers' protective association while he sneaks into town with Greeley in the back of a wagon. At the trial, as the jury finds Tremaine guilty of murder, Jim bursts into the courtroom with the murder weapon and Greeley, who confesses all. After Daggett shoots Greeley, Rankin and his gang flee. At that moment, Smokey and the ranchers arrive to corral Rankin's men, while Jim captures Rankin and Daggett. When Colonel Lodge of the railroad learns of Rankin's duplicity, he returns the land to the ranchers, and all ends happily as Jim promises Alice to return to the Tremaine ranch. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
  Sam Ruman (Asst dir)
Producer: Bert Gilroy (Prod)
Writer: Morton Grant (Scr)
  Arthur V. Jones (Scr)
  Oliver Drake (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)
  Ken Terrell (Stunt double)
  Al St. John (Stunt double)
Country: United States

Songs: "The Railroad's Coming to Town" 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. 18/4/1941 dd/mm/yyyy LP10485 Yes

PCA NO: 6947
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Duplicity
  Frame-ups
  Gunfighters
  Impersonation and imposture
  Murder
  Ranchers
 
Subjects (Minor): Cattlemen's associations
  Confession (Law)
  Fathers and daughters
  Land rights
  Mortgages
  Railroad companies
  Real estate agents
  Sheriffs
  Trials

Note: The working titles of this picture were Range Raiders and Range Robbers . A HR production chart places John Dilson and Glenn Strange in the cast, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a news item in HR , exteriors for this picture were shot at Santa Susana, CA. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   5 Apr 1941.   
Daily Variety   31 Mar 1941.   
Hollywood Reporter   3 Jan 41   p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Jan 41   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Jan 41   pp. 10-11.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Feb 41   p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter   31 Mar 41   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald   5 Apr 1941.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   5 Apr 41   p. 99.
Variety   30 Apr 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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