Cast & Crew
Ranchhand Harley "Tumbleweed" Williams, who has just turned twenty-one, takes a bus to Las Vegas, planning to enter the annual rodeo. The naive Tumbleweed is impressed by Las Vegas, but disappointed to learn that the rodeo entrance fees are more than he has. Hoping to earn eight dollars so that he can enter two events when the rodeo opens, Tumbleweed searches for temporary work, but finds nothing. Seeing a small club called The Lucky 13 Club, Tumbleweed again enquires about work. Owner Al also turns him down, but offers to store his gear when change girl Dixie Delmar points out that his bed roll, signalling that he is a transient, may be hurting his chances.
As he leaves, Tumbleweed decides to drop a coin into a slot machine and wins several nickels. Within minutes, he progresses from nickels to dimes, then quarters, and quickly wins almost forty dollars. Tumbleweed then offers to buy Dixie a drink, but she asks him to take her to lunch instead. Dixie takes him to a drive-in in her dilapidated car and tells him that she has not gotten work as a dancer and wants to return home to Kansas. Feeling lucky, and with more than he needs for the rodeo, Tumbleweed proposes that he continue gambling and win enough to send her home in style. All afternoon they tour the casinos, bringing Tumbleweed's winnings to $175. Dixie then drives him to the rodeo grounds, where he imagines that he is a famous rodeo cowboy. He decides to enter all of the rodeo events and tells Dixie that he is going to win more money gambling so that they can each have $175. At night, though, his luck turns, and he loses everything except what he originally had. Undeterred because he still has two days to earn the eight dollars for the entrance fees, Tumbleweed asks Dixie to drive him to the edge of town to camp out. Before dropping him off, she tells him he is a sweet guy and kisses him goodnight.
The next morning, when Dixie arrives very late to work, Al fires her, after which she asks him to tell Tumbleweed that she will meet him for lunch at the drive-in. Tumbleweed hitchhikes into town and finally finds work as a day laborer, but at the end of the day, when he asks the foreman for his money, the man refuses to give it to him until the end of the week. Meanwhile, Dixie looks for Tumbleweed all over town, including the rodeo office, where she learns that he must have the money by 5:00 the next afternoon. When Tumbleweed arrives at the Lucky 13, Al says that he has no idea where Dixie is. Depressed, Tumbleweed then tries his luck on the club's dollar machines but loses more money.
Al then treats Tumbleweed to a root beer and tells him to quit because the machines always favor the house. When Tumbleweed leaves the Lucky 13, Dixie is waiting in her car in the alley. As they drive, she shows him a small drill that a salesman gave to her and explains that the drill can make the slot machines pay out jackpots. Tumbleweed wants no part of the drill, because it is crooked, but she eventually talks him into a plan whereby he will go back to the Lucky 13 after Al leaves for the evening and use the drill when only Otis, the elderly night change man, is there. They observe Al leave the club, unaware that he is merely going for something to eat, and Tumbleweed enters.
After getting change from Otis, Tumbleweed nervously tries several machines, but is shadowed by the club's only other customer and cannot use his drill. When Otis tells the customer to go to another area, Tumbleweed thinks of using the device, but instead tries one more dollar and wins the $150 jackpot. As he collects his money, Al comes in and congratulates him, but when the drill suddenly falls to the floor, Tumbleweed runs away. Dixie picks him up and they speed off in her car, which is recognized by Al and Otis. By sunrise, Dixie and Tumbleweed are on a deserted road to Utah. Although Tumbleweed wants to return and explain that he did not use the drill, Dixie says that they cannot because it was used in two slot machine jackpot robberies. As they approach a ghost town, the car gets a flat tire and Tumbleweed stops to fix it. When Dixie then says that she is thirsty, he goes to look for water and she drives off, taking his hatful of silver dollars with her. Tumbleweed then starts to walk back to town, but a short time later Dixie drives up, telling him that she could not leave him. She then says that she found a short cut back to Las Vegas, and as they drive toward it, she reveals that, although she was not involved in the salesman's two jackpot robberies, she helped him spend the money and could be charged.
At a crossroad, Tumbleweed turns toward Utah, telling her that he wants to keep her out of trouble. On the way, their car loses its brakes and they are almost killed, but Tumbleweed maneuvers them to safety. Later, they talk about their feelings and Tumbleweed suggests that they get married when they get to Utah, after which they can move to ranch land that a friend has offered to him. In Utah, they stop, and as an exhausted Tumbleweed falls asleep, Dixie promises to give her answer about marrying him when he wakes up. Hours later, Tumbleweed is awakened by a train whistle. The station agent rushes over to give him a ticket to Las Vegas, saying that Dixie insisted that he needed to be there by five. The agent then reminds Tumbleweed about his hatful of silver dollars and puts him on the train. In Las Vegas, after paying the entry fee for the bronco-busting event, Tumbleweed goes to the Lucky 13 and asks the new change girl, Billie, to tell Al to meet him at the rodeo. Later, Al finds him and says that Dixie called to say that Tumbleweed knew nothing about the drill. Tumbleweed protests that he had thought of using it, but Al says he will take Dixie's word. After adding that Dixie could not have been a rancher's wife, Al watches as Tumbleweed loses the bronco-busting event. Al wishes him better luck next year, and Tumbleweed returns to the ranch, thinking about next time.
G. Pat Collins
Fred Kohler Jr.
Sidney Franklin Jr.
A. Arnold Gillespie
Fredrick Y. Smith
Edwin B. Willis
Norman Foster's onscreen credits reads: "Written and directed by Norman Foster." Sheb Wooley and Jonathan Cott sing two ballads that are heard on the film's sound track; Cott also has a small role in the film as a "Manager." Although a pre-production Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Sky Full of Moon was to be Foster's first producing assignment at M-G-M, Sidney Franklin, Jr. is the only credited producer.
As noted in reviews and news items, the film's exteriors were shot in and around Las Vegas, NV. The downtown area of Las Vegas, as well as hotels such as The Last Frontier and The Thunderbird, were seen in the film. Former Nevada governor and Western star Rex Bell appeared briefly as himself in the film. A Hollywood Reporter news item included Chubby Johnson in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.