Cast & Crew
When they learn that their outfit has been sold, the men at the Circle J ranch are anxious about the new owner, Van Fleet. Meanwhile, outlaws search for a helium gas floe on the property, to sell to foreign powers who use lighter than air vehicles that have been banned by the U.S. government. Foreman Gene Autry and ranch hand Frog Milhouse pursue the intruders, who have knocked one of the ranch hands unconscious, and when they find an abandoned house on the trail they think they have caught their men. Instead they find old "Dad" Haskell, who explains to Gene and Frog that his daughter Betty thinks that he is the owner of the Circle J. Because she is due to arrive from the East, Gene agrees to help maintain his charade and turns the Circle J into a dude ranch until Van Fleet arrives. Betty soon arrives, with her fiancé, Walter Gregory, and his mother. Frog poses as an Indian, and Gene pretends to save Betty from him, but she is angry at Gene when she finds out it is just a gag. That night, Betty confesses to her father that Mrs. Gregory has allowed her to charge $1500 worth of clothing to her account, and she needs to pay the money back soon. The next day, while trying to follow the men looking for helium, Gene follows Betty when she goes for a ride and accidentally finds the gas floe. Because the outlaws have been following Gene, they now know the source of the helium. When one of the men tries to buy the ranch from Dad, thinking that he is the owner, he refuses, thereby arousing the suspicions of Walter and his mother. Mrs. Gregory then decides to get the $1500 directly from Dad, who writes a bad check to settle the debt, but hopes to win the money back from her at cards. Gene, meanwhile, has become suspicious of Randolph Kimball, the chemist who once told the previous owner of the Circle J that the gas on the property was worthless. When Van Fleet arrives, Smiley and ranch hand Joseph Frisco tie him up to get him out of the way, only to be thwarted by Gene, who unties the furious man. Just after Doc has won enough money to cover his check, Van Fleet shows up and angrily throws everyone out, including Walter and his mother, who want nothing more to do with Betty and Dad. When things appear to be at their bleakest, Gene gets an idea when he sees Frog with some balloons. He decides to fill an aeronautical balloon with helium and send Frog up in a basket. From the sky, Frog finds the pipeline to the outlaws' cave, and after Gene uses a bullet to puncture Frog's balloon, they head towards the hideout. After a shootout, Gene captures most of the outlaws and apprehends Kimball as he attempts to escape on a truck. Impressed with Gene's initiative, Van Fleet offers him the position of ranch manager and Betty decides that he would make a much better husband than Walter.
A working title of the film was Bloom on the Sage. In his introduction to the picture on his television program Melody Ranch Theater, Gene Autry noted that it was the debut film of actor Eddie Dean who is included in the cast by several modern sources. Modern sources also include Jack Perrin, Jack Ingram, Frank Ellis, Davidson Clark and Autry's horse Champion in the cast.