AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Fargo Kid
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
Release Date:   6 Dec 1940
Production Date:   25 Jul--28 Aug 1940
Duration (in mins):   63-64
Duration (in reels):   7
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Fargo Kid)  
    Ray Whitley (Johnny)  
    Emmett Lynn (Whopper)  
    Jane Drummond (Jennie Winters)  
    Cyrus W. Kendall (Nick Kane)  
    Ernie Adams (Bush Cleveland)  
    Paul Fix (Deuce Mallory)  
    Paul Scardon (Caleb Winters)  
    Glenn Strange (Sheriff)  
    Mary MacLaren (Sarah Winters)  
    Dick Hogan (Young prospector)  
    Herman Nowlin (Hank)  
    Hayden Stevenson (Hotel clerk)  
    Lee Phelps (Bartender)  
    Carl Stockdale    
    Harry Harvey    

Summary: In the small Arizona town of Micaville, prospector Nick Kane tries to persuade Caleb Winters into selling his land, and even tries to enlist the help of Caleb's wife Sarah to convince him to sell. Caleb, however, refuses to give up his mining claim, and insists that there is gold on the land. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of Micaville, the Fargo Kid, who is on his way to join his buddies Johnny and Whopper in town, becomes stranded when his horse suffers a broken leg. In the desert, the Fargo Kid meets Deuce Mallory, a hired gun who is headed for Micaville to kill a man. Mallory proposes a game of cards to determine who will ride his horse into town, but when he loses he pulls a gun on the Kid. The Kid, however, overpowers Mallory and rides off with his horse. Because of the horse, the Kid is mistaken for the outlawed gunslinger and is awarded with the five-thousand-dollar payment that Mallory was to receive for killing Caleb Winters, an old prospector. His interest piqued, the Kid decides to assume the gunman's identity until he can get to the bottom of the murder plot. Complications arise when the real Mallory rides into town and, seeing a notice offering a one-thousand-dollar reward for his capture, tips off Whopper and the sheriff that the man they want is the owner of the copper sorrel horse hitched outside the saloon. When the sheriff and a large crowd of men capture the Kid, Whopper comes to his rescue by starting a brawl over the reward money, thus creating a diversion long enough for the Kid to escape. While Johnny and Whopper are jailed for their complicity in the Kid's escape, the Kid learns that Nick Kane and Bush Cleveland want to kill Caleb in order to steal the rich vein of gold running through his claim. The Kid marches the men out to his ranch at gunpoint and forces them to confess to Caleb. After Johnny and Whopper are released from jail, they trail the sheriff to Winters' place, where a scuffle breaks out and Kane is shot. Before leaving town, Fargo asks Jennie, Caleb's daughter, for a hairpin, then extracts the five-thousand dollars he had hidden in the shaft of his shotgun. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Edward Killy (Dir)
  William Dorfman (Asst dir)
Producer: Bert Gilroy (Prod)
  Lee Marcus (Exec prod)
Writer: Morton Grant (Scr)
  Arthur V. Jones (Scr)
Photography: Harry Wild (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Van Nest Polglase (Art dir)
  Lucius Croxton (Art dir assoc)
Film Editor: Frederic Knudtson (Ed)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus dir)
  John Leipold (Mus score)
Sound: John C. Grubb (Rec)
Production Misc: Nan Blake (Publicity unit wrt)
Country: United States

Songs: "Crazy Ole Trails Ahead," "Echo in the Night," and "Twilight on the Prairie," music and lyrics by Ray Whitley and Fred Rose.
Composer: Fred Rose
  Ray Whitley
Source Text: Based on the short story "Sir Piegan Passes" by W. C. Tuttle in Adventure (New York, 10 Aug 1923).
Authors: W. C. Tuttle

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 6/12/1940 dd/mm/yyyy LP10121

PCA NO: 6607
Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: RCA Sound System

Genre: Western
Sub-Genre: with songs
Subjects (Major): Hired killers
  Impersonation and imposture
  Land rights
  Mistaken identity
Subjects (Minor): Assayers
  Confession (Law)
  Gold miners

Note: According to contemporary sources, this film was filmed partially in Kanab, Utah. HR news items indicate that The Fargo Kid was filmed simultaneously with Holt's Wagon Train (see below). According to the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, on 2 Aug 1940 the Hays office sent a letter to RKO, warning the studio to use care in scenes showing drinking and horses falling. The Hays office also told RKO to change a scene in which "Bush" is being choked by "Nick," and suggested that "Nick merely shake Bush." In addition, RKO was asked to "show the crooks actually turned over to the sheriff and the that it will be quite clear to the audience that the crooks are going to be punished." For information on other films based on Tuttle's story see entry for the 1933 version of The Cheyenne Kid above. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   27 Oct 40   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   24 Jul 40   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jul 40   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Aug 40   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Oct 40   p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily   29 Oct 40   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald   2 Nov 40   p. 38.
Variety   12 Feb 41   p. 14.

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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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