Cast & Crew
It is a proud day in the Shields household, for idealistic John Shields is about to begin his first day on the job as a state trooper, much to the delight of his sister Jane and younger brother Freddie. They are joined for breakfast by Jane's fiancé, Tom Marlin, who is also a trooper, their crabby, wheelchair-bound boarder Endeberry, and their friend, Italian peddler Tony Rankin. The group discusses the latest racket with which the troopers are faced: illegal gold hoarding that began after Congress passed a new law stabilizing the price of gold. Meanwhile, an anonymous businessman attempts to sell $40,000 in hoarded gold to Butch Barker and Spike, hoodlums who work for racketeer Flash Slavin and his mysterious boss. The man intends for Slavin to resell the gold to the government, but Butch and Spike kill him and steal the gold. The man's servants see the fleeing desperadoes and give their license plate number to the troopers. Freddie, Tom and John hear the radio report on the murder, and while Tom and John report to their posts, amateur detective Freddie heads out in his jalopy to see what clues he can dig up. Freddie finds Butch and Spike and calls in their location to the troopers. The two crooks run Freddie off the road when he tries to tail them, but they are stymied when they come upon a roadblock set up by Tom. They hijack farmer Finnegan's truck and go the other way, but again run across Freddie, who escapes with the sack of gold. John, who is patrolling the highway, stops the truck and quickly becomes suspicious of Butch and Spike. John is killed, and after Spike puts on his uniform and takes his car, he and Butch split up and escape. Tom finds John's body and gently breaks the news to Freddie when he turns up to give Tom the gold. Tom is frustrated by Slavin's alibi, when he attempts to link the gangster to the gold and the murders, and soon Slavin uses his influence to get Tom taken off the case. Tom quits the force so that he can avenge his friend, and the intrepid Freddie finds Slavin, Butch and Spike together at a smelting plant. The gang chases the youngster back to the house, but Endeberry mysteriously convinces the culprits to leave. Endeberry "accidentally" shoots at the closet in which Freddie is hiding, but the boy is unhurt. Freddie and Tom scheme to entrap the gangsters by luring them with the gold, which is still in Freddie's possession, and they contact Slavin. Slavin agrees to introduce Freddie to the big boss and goes with him, Butch and Spike back to Freddie's basement, where the gold is hidden. Tom, hidden in the basement, surprises the gangsters, but he is in turn surprised and disarmed by Endeberry, who actually is the able-bodied head of the gold racketeers. As Tom struggles with Endeberry, he and Freddie are rescued by Tony, who is really an American Secret Service agent. Tony reveals that Endeberry's real name is Doc Clark and that he had Tom removed from the case because he knew Tom would still work on it. Tony promises that the gangsters will be convicted of John's murder and confides to a happy Freddie that his Italian witticisms came from a book about Italian humor.
The working title of this film was State Trooper, and in the opening credits, the film is introduced as "Peter B. Kyne's Young Dynamite." Although this film's onscreen credits state that the picture is suggested by the story "The New Freedom" by Peter B. Kyne, Screen Achievements Bulletin states that the film is based on Arthur Durlam's short story "State Trooper." Kyne's story was the basis of the 1935 Conn production Men of Action. No publication information for either story has been found, and the exact relationship between the two stories and the two films has not been determined. Although there is a copyright statement on the opening title card of the film, the title is not listed in the copyright register. Durlam's name is spelled "Duriam" in the onscreen credits. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the company went to Kernville, CA for a four-day location shoot. According to the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the picture was initially rejected by the PCA because "law-enforcing officers are shown dying at the hands of criminals." The PCA had previously advised the studio to alter the script so that the character of "John Shields" was not killed in cold blood by the gangsters. After the film was completed, the PCA suggested that instead of showing the gangsters killing "Shields," the trooper should be shown falling out of their car and dying accidentally. The death of "Shields" is not shown on screen, and the film was approved by the PCA.