Cast & Crew
H. B. Warner
A handsome cowboy named Kentucky "Ken" Maynard and his scruffy, misogynistic sidekick, Cactus, meet Lila Miller when her car accidentally goes off the road. Lila's father Charlie owns the dude ranch where Ken and Cactus intend to enter their prize horse "Tarzan" in a gruelling canyon race. Two other men, Chandler and Tracy, have also arrived for the race. They are also plotting to blackmail Charlie, whom Chandler knows has a secret criminal past, for half of his gold mine and ranch operation earnings. Chandler hopes that his blackmail scheme will also force Charlie into granting him permission to marry Lila, who is showing a definite interest in Ken. Charlie refuses to be bullied, however, and claims he was innocent of the crime. Before the race, Chandler and Tracy goad the gambling-prone Cactus into a wager in which Tarzan will be the prize if Ken loses the race. Then, to assure their victory, Tracy sets up a trip-wire on the course, which wounds Tarzan and allows Tracy to win the race. However, after he finds the broken wire and begins to suspect foul play, Ken refuses to give up his horse to Chandler. Cactus, shamed by his foolish behavior, then vows to identify the saboteur, whose bootprints he has found in the ground near the wire. While they are investigating the race, the alcoholic Tracy double-crosses Chandler by robbing the ranch stagecoach that is carrying a shipment of Charlie's gold. During the robbery, the driver is killed, and Ken, who is trying to catch the bandits, is jailed for the crime after Tracy implicates him to the sheriff. With the help of Cactus and Tarzan, Ken escapes from jail and arrives at the ranch just as Chandler shoots Tracy. Again, Ken is suspected of the killing, but after Cactus arrives with proof that Tracy's boots match the prints found on the race course, Ken tricks Chandler into a confession by claiming he possesses a damning note left by Tracy. At the same time, the sheriff reveals to Chandler that Charlie came to him about the blackmail attempt and that, unknown to Chandler, whose real name is Monte Korber, Charlie had been pardoned of the earlier crime years before. With his reputation at last clear, Ken is free to court Lila, who has always loved him.
H. B. Warner
C. Harold Lewis
The working title of this film was Down in Old Santa Fe. Although the viewed print included a pre-title frame that read, "Nat Levine presents Gene Autry," Autry, who along with Smiley Burnette made his screen debut in this production, appeared only briefly in the picture and was not included in the regular cast list, suggesting that this "above-title" credit was added later. Modern sources note that In Old Santa Fe was the first film to use an "And Introducing" credit (for Autry). Autry, who sings the title song, was billed in publicity items as the "Cowboy Idol of the Air," a tribute to his popularity as a radio performer. Although news items suggested that Ken Maynard was going to make other films with Mascot, In Old Santa Fe was the only picture he actually made at the studio, and also was the only western that Mascot ever produced. According to publicity items deposited with the copyright records, Maynard sang his own songs in the film. Modern sources, however, credit Bob Nolan as Maynard's singing "double." A Daily Variety news item announced that production was held up for over a week after Maynard was hospitalized with torn ligaments, which he suffered when a flock of mules stampeded and knocked him off his saddle. Exteriors for the film were shot at Noah Beery's ranch "Paradise" in Palmdale, CA, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item and production chart. A Hollywood Reporter production chart lists H. B. Walthall as a cast member, but this credit is probably an error. Modern sources also note that David Howard, a contract director at Fox, was borrowed to direct the picture but, when the production ran over schedule, was replaced by editor Joseph Kane. Only Howard is credited onscreen, however. Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Jack Rockwell (Sheriff), Jim Corey and Frank Ellis (Deputies), Edward Hearn (Villain), Horace B. Carpenter (Ranch guest), Cliff Lyons, Frankie Marvin and Jack Kirk.