Roy Rogers Collection, Vol. 1 [2 Discs] [DVD]
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Overview

Synopsis

The Carson City Kid
Roy Rogers plays an outlaw out to avenge the murder of his brother in this fine Republic Western directed by one of the masters of the genre, Joseph Kane. Learning that the man he believes to be the killer, Lee Jessup (Bob Steele), is running a gambling establishment in Sonora, the Kid manages to obtain a job body guarding Jessup's saloon and its star attraction, Joby (Pauline Moore). But although intent on biding his time, the hero cannot stand idly by while Jessup is taking advantage of a naïve prospector (Noah Beery Jr.) and is forced to show his hand. One of Rogers' better early vehicles, The Carson City Kid is enlivened by a couple of good songs, including "Are You the One?" and "Sonora Moon," both by Peter Tinturia and performed by Rogers and Moore (who later admitted to having been dubbed). ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Young Bill Hickok
This Roy Rogers vehicle is a followup (though not a sequel) to 1940's Young Buffalo Bill. Definitely a "premature anti-fascist", singing frontiersman Bill Hickok (Roy Rogers) tries to thwart the takeover of West by foreign invaders. John Miljan is frontier fuhrer Nicholas Tower, who hires a gang of storm troopers-er, henchmen-to do his dirty work. Southern belle Louise Mason (Jacqueline Wells) initially aligns herself with Tower because he is ostensibly anti-Damyankee, but she finally turns against him when she realizes what he's up to. Calamity Jane also appears in the person of comic actress Sally Payne, while Gabby Hayes shows up as a character named-but of course-Gabby. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Arizona Kid
In this western, Roy Rogers rides out to stop angry Confederate terrorists from harassing Missouri residents because they voted to side with the Union. Roy plays a Confederate captain who is faced with a difficult situation when he is ordered to execute his best friend, one of the terrorists. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

King of the Cowboys
The budget for this fine Roy Rogers Western was doubled and the title changed from Starlight on the Trail to the more descriptive King of the Cowboys, mainly due to Rogers' great reception on a personal appearance tour in the fall of 1942. Republic had lost Gene Autry to the war effort and this film, more than any other, brought the heretofore also-ran singing cowboy to the forefront, where he remained through the early '50s. Following the example of Autry, Roy played himself, a rodeo star assigned by the governor, Russell Hicks, to investigate a series of warehouse bombings. With sidekick Frog Millhouse (Smiley Burnette) in tow, Roy infiltrates the Merry Makers, a touring tent show whose phony mind reader, Maurice (Gerald Mohr), is the chief operative for a sabotage ring run by the governor's secretary, Kraly (Lloyd Corrigan). But Maurice catches Roy stealing his book of codes and is about to shoot him in cold blood when tent show owner Dave Mason (James Bush) interferes. Maurice then eliminates Mason and frames Roy for the killing but despite this setback, Roy manages to stop the saboteurs before they can blow up a supply train needed in the war effort. An "everything but the kitchen sink" action-thriller, King of the Cowboys came complete with seven songs performed by Rogers, Burnette, and the Sons of the Pioneers, including "Ride, Ranger, Ride," "Roll Along Prairie Moon," and Johnny Mercer's "I'm an Old Cowhand." The film was restored to its full theatrical length by the Roan Group in the late '90s and re-released on a DVD that also features the original theatrical trailer and alternate scenes from a separate version released only to the War Department. In these scenes, Lloyd Corrigan's character is a businessman rather than the governor's secretary, and his Nazi affiliation is more clearly established. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

The Cowboy and the Senorita
Yet another tuneful Roy Rogers Western named after a song, The Cowboy and the Senorita features Roy and sidekick Teddy Bear (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams) as a couple of would-be prospectors fired from a small town café when the latter gets in trouble with an irate customer (rotund Ferdinand Munier). At the nearby town of Bonanza, the two friends find themselves falsely accused of kidnapping young Chip Williams (Mary Lee), who is actually a runaway. Having befriended both her girl and her half-sister Isabel Martinez (Dale Evans), Roy and Teddy Bear manage to solve the riddle of a treasure hidden in a supposedly worthless mine despite the sabotaging efforts of smooth tycoon Craig Allen (John Hubbard). In between the Western shenanigans, Rogers joins Lee, Evans, the Sons of the Pioneers, and such guest artists as the dance team of Jane Beebe and Ben Rochelle in no less than five musical numbers, including the title tune and a delightful rendition of Ned Washington and Phil Ohman's "What'll I Use for Money." Spanky McFarland, of Our Gang fame, has a funny silent bit in the opening scene. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Billy the Kid Returns
Roy Rogers fans were in for a shock in the opening scenes of Billy the Kid Returns--for there was Rogers, playing the title character, being gunned down in the dark by sheriff Pat Garrett! Within a few minutes, however, things were explained satisfactorally when Rogers showed up again as a young cowpoke who bears a striking resemblance to the late Billy. Mistaken for the the notorious outlaw, Rogers finally clears himself by bringing villains Morgansson (Morgan Wallace) and Matson (Fred Kohler Sr.) to justice. The musical numbers are strategically placed throughout the film as tension-breakers during the more hair-raising moments. Lynne Roberts, who briefly changed her name to Mary Hart before reverting to Lynne Roberts again, made the first of several appearances opposite "The King of the Cowboys". ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

In Old Caliente
As in all his early westerns, Roy Rogers battles true Old West outlaws in the fine In Old Caliente. He is, as usual, Roy Rogers, but this time a trusted hand at the Olde California ranchero belonging to Don José (Frank Puglia). Unbeknownst to the Don, however, his "half-breed" foreman, Suguaro (Frank La Rue), is in league with Calkins (Harry Woods), the nasty Gringo behind a series of gold-shipment robberies. With Suguaro's help, Calkins manages to pin the crimes on Roy and Gabby (George "Gabby" Hayes) and the Don has them imprisoned. But Rita (Katherine DeMille), Don José's Eastern-bred daughter, believes them to be innocent and secures their release. The ensuing chase leads straight to the Pacific Ocean and the evil Suguaro is killed in the surf. Roy Rogers performs "Sundown on the Range", by Fred Rose, "The Moon, She Will be Shining Tonight" and, in a duet with George "Gabby" Hayes, "We're Not Coming Out Tonight", the latter two penned by Walter Samuels. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

Rough Riders' Roundup
Hot on the heels of Frontier Pony Express came the equally exciting Roy Rogers vehicle Rough Riders' Roundup. In the first film, Rogers was an express rider during the Civil War era; in the second, he's a veteran of the Spanish American war (ubiquitous fellow, isn't he?) With several of his fellow Rough Riders, Rogers joins the Texas border patrol, where he almost immediately clashes with a villain named Arizona (William Pawley). While maintaining a respectable facade, Arizona and his minions rob the stagecoaches and express offices, divesting the local prospectors of their hard-earned gold. With the help of grizzled old sidekick Rusty (Raymond Hatton)-not to mention the rest of the Rough Riders-Rogers crushes Arizona's operation once and for all. The film boasts two leading ladies: Rogers' usual vis-a-vis Mary Hart, and former silent star Dorothy Sebastian, here making a comeback attempt. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Sheriff of Tombstone
In this western, Rogers and his sidekick Gabby get into all kinds of trouble when they ride into Tombstone and find themselves mistaken for the hired gun and his assistant. The gunslinger was engaged to work for the mayor and for a time Rogers goes along with it. When he discovers that the mayor is a bonafide crook, the "gunslinger" becomes the new sheriff. When the real gunman finally moseys into town, a showdown ensues. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Home in Oklahoma
One of the better Roy Rogers vehicles of its period, Home in Oklahoma casts Rogers as a crusading frontier newspaper editor. Forsworn to find the murderers of a prominent cattle rancher, Roy teams up with big-city journalist Connie Edwards (Dale Evans) and grizzled ranch foreman Gabby Whittaker (Gabby Hayes). Following the trail of clues like a Sagebrush Sherlock, Rogers exposes a rival rancher (never mind which one-his identity is obvious to seasoned mystery fans) as the culprit. Musical highlights include Roy and Dale's rendition of the novelty tune "Miguelito." Chalk up another winner for the star-director team of Roy Rogers and William Witney. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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