Cast & Crew
Gene Autry, a horse trader who believes that horses are more valuable than trackers in the West, boosts sales by organizing barn dances and shows before his auctions. Soon after arriving in Grainville, Gene is approached by radio station owner Sally Dawson, who wants him to sing on a program sponsored by Thornton Farming Equipment. Gene refuses, even though he finds Sally appealing, so Sally sets up an audition by secretly recording his show for company owner Thornton. Impressed, Thornton agrees to give Sally an advance for the shows, thus saving her equipment from repossession. She then tells Gene that if he signs a contract he would work for her, not Thornton. For several weeks Gene performs at barn dance shows as Sally sends the broadcasts out through remote control hook-ups. Believing that Gene now endorses the tractors, more farmers buy them, but as harvest time approaches, several farmers receive delinquency notices from a finance company secretly backed by Thornton. They are faced with repossession if payment is not made by the time of the county fair. Blaming Gene, the farmers confront him, and Gene finally learns the truth from Sally. He then promises to let the farmers use his horses free of charge until they are able to pay and starts to move them back towards Grainville. Meanwhile, Sally is forced by Thornton to use some of Gene's records to continue the show because she cannot pay his advance back and fears for her paraplygic father's health. Gene's herd is soon stampeded by some of Thornton's men during the drive, and a cowboy is seriously injured. As the farmers wait for Gene, they think he has lied to him when they hear his voice on the radio. When Gene shows up in person, though, he realizes what has happened and goes to the radio station with his friend Frog to destroy the records. Although they leave the station in ruins, Johnny, Sally's younger brother, has managed to salvage pieces of a record he made of Thornton and one of his men discussing the stampede. As the county fair is underway, Gene arrives with some of his horses, but the sheriff seizes them because of Thornton's claim for damages to the station. As Frog drives a tractor wildly through the fair, Johnny and Sally play the incriminating record over the public address system. Thornton and his man go to the station to get them, but Sally and Johnny escape in their car. Thornton drives after them, but Gene follows on horseback and captures Thornton. Finally, Gene and Sally ride home side by side.
Maple City Four
Charles Francis Royal
Sol C. Siegel
'Autry, Gene' left Republic Pictures in a contract dispute after this film. As Republic's "singing cowboy" he was replaced by the young singer in this picture, Dick Weston, whom the studio renamed 'Rogers, Roy' .
Parts of the film were shot on location at Lone Pine, CA. A few weeks before this film was released, Gene Autry was named the number one box office attraction among Western stars for 1937 by an exhibitors' poll published in Motion Picture Herald. According to contemporary news items, this was Autry's last picture for Republic before his highly publicized contract dispute with the studio. He did not reach an agreement with Republic until Spring of 1938 when he returned to the studio to make Gold Mine in the Sky. During Autry's absence from Republic, Roy Rogers, who appeared as a singer in The Old Barn Dance under the name Dick Weston, took over some roles originally intended for Autry. For additional information on this subject see Gold Mine in the Sky and Under Western Stars. This film was re-issued in 1943, while Autry was serving in the armed forces. According to Daily Variety, Republic hoped that the re-issue would keep Autry's name before the public during his absence from filmmaking. Modern sources list Denver Dixon, Chuck Baldra, Jack Kenny, Bill Nestell and Autry's horse Champion in the cast.