Riders in the Sky (1949)

69-70 mins | Western | November 1949

Director:

John English

Writer:

Gerald Geraghty

Producer:

Armand Schaefer

Cinematographer:

Bill Bradford

Editor:

Henry Batista

Production Designer:

Harold MacArthur

Production Company:

Gene Autry Productions
Full page view
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Dec 1949.
---
Daily Variety
7 Dec 49
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Dec 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Dec 49
p. 123.
Variety
7 Dec 49
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus supv
SOUND
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "A Fool and His Gold" by Herbert A. Woodbury in Ranch Romances Magazine (1 Oct 1948).
SONGS
"Streets of Laredo (The Cowboy's Lament)," traditional, arranged by Paul Mertz
"It Makes No Difference Now," words and music by Jimmie Davis and Floyd Tillman
"Riders in the Sky," music and lyrics by Stan Jones.
DETAILS
Release Date:
November 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 29 November 1949
Production Date:
8 August--28 August 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Gene Autry Productions
Copyright Date:
15 November 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2626
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
69-70
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

As Gene Autry rides along the trail with some friends, he relates the story behind the popular song "Riders in the Sky:" In the Arizona town of Desert Wells, gambler Sam Devlin is killed, and a coroner's jury is assembled. Rancher Ralph Lawson is accused of the murder, although he claims he shot Devlin in self-defense. Lawson explains that after losing a lot of money to Devlin in a card game, he caught him cheating. Later, he went back for a showdown. Although it is apparent that the witnesses know more than they are telling, the presence of the powerful Rock McCleary prevents them from revealing what they saw. In another town, Gene, who has been left a fortune by an uncle, meets his friend, Chuckwalla Jones. Gene, an investigator for the state attorney, is mistaken for his boss by Lawson's daughter Anne, who accuses him of sending an innocent man to jail. On his way out of town to buy a ranch, Gene spots Anne leaving on the stagecoach and, with Chuckwalla, follows it back to Desert Wells. Learning that Anne is a real estate broker, Gene asks her to help him find a ranch. After they look at several desolate ranches, Anne explains that the town has alkaline water and must bring in good water. Meanwhile, McCleary sells water rights to mining engineer Willard Agnew, who will operate a mine beneath the former Lawson ranch, which McCleary has taken over. The following day, Pop Roberts, a witness to the murder, is driving the water wagon when two of McCleary's men cause it to crash. Roberts is ... +


As Gene Autry rides along the trail with some friends, he relates the story behind the popular song "Riders in the Sky:" In the Arizona town of Desert Wells, gambler Sam Devlin is killed, and a coroner's jury is assembled. Rancher Ralph Lawson is accused of the murder, although he claims he shot Devlin in self-defense. Lawson explains that after losing a lot of money to Devlin in a card game, he caught him cheating. Later, he went back for a showdown. Although it is apparent that the witnesses know more than they are telling, the presence of the powerful Rock McCleary prevents them from revealing what they saw. In another town, Gene, who has been left a fortune by an uncle, meets his friend, Chuckwalla Jones. Gene, an investigator for the state attorney, is mistaken for his boss by Lawson's daughter Anne, who accuses him of sending an innocent man to jail. On his way out of town to buy a ranch, Gene spots Anne leaving on the stagecoach and, with Chuckwalla, follows it back to Desert Wells. Learning that Anne is a real estate broker, Gene asks her to help him find a ranch. After they look at several desolate ranches, Anne explains that the town has alkaline water and must bring in good water. Meanwhile, McCleary sells water rights to mining engineer Willard Agnew, who will operate a mine beneath the former Lawson ranch, which McCleary has taken over. The following day, Pop Roberts, a witness to the murder, is driving the water wagon when two of McCleary's men cause it to crash. Roberts is injured in the crash, but before he dies, tells Gene that Lawson killed Devlin in self-defense. In town, Gene joins a card game and subtly reveals McCleary's cheating. A fight breaks out, but ends when the sheriff announces that Lawson has escaped from jail. Gene discovers Lawson at Anne's office and overhears him explain what really happened the night Devlin was killed: When the posse arrives, Gene turns Lawson over to them believing that he will be safer in jail. Later, saloon singer Julie Stewart offers to testify that Devlin's killing was self-defense if Anne lets McCleary sell her old ranch to Gene without water rights. Gene looks at the property, where there is now a well, but is skeptical when he sees a leaf floating in the water. His suspicions are confirmed when he traces the source of the water to an irrigation ditch. Later, Anne proves that Gene really owns the water rights on the property because Arizona law stipulates that land and water cannot be sold separately. This leads to a showdown between Gene and McCleary, and the truth about Devlin's murder is finally revealed. Now that Lawson is free, Gene becomes his partner. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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