Last of the Pony Riders (1953)

58 mins | Western | November 1953

Director:

George Archainbaud

Writer:

Ruth Woodman

Producer:

Armand Schaefer

Cinematographer:

Bill Bradford

Editor:

James Sweeney

Production Designer:

Ross Bellah

Production Company:

Gene Autry Productions
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HISTORY

The working title of the film was Last of the Pony Express . Although information in copyright records note that the film was released in sepia, the print viewed was in black and white. Last of the Pony Riders was Gene Autry's ninety-third and final feature film. Autry later filmed a scene for Alias Jesse James (see above), that was subsequently cut from that film. Autry focused all his attention on his television series The Gene Autry Show , which was broadcast on the CBS network from Jul 1950 to Sep 1956 and co-starred frequent Autry film partner, Pat ... More Less

The working title of the film was Last of the Pony Express . Although information in copyright records note that the film was released in sepia, the print viewed was in black and white. Last of the Pony Riders was Gene Autry's ninety-third and final feature film. Autry later filmed a scene for Alias Jesse James (see above), that was subsequently cut from that film. Autry focused all his attention on his television series The Gene Autry Show , which was broadcast on the CBS network from Jul 1950 to Sep 1956 and co-starred frequent Autry film partner, Pat Buttram. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
14 Nov 1953.
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Nov 53
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Mar 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 52
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 53
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
7 Nov 53
p. 2062.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCER
WRITER
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus dir
SOUND
SOURCES
SONGS
"Sing Me a Song of the Saddle," words and music by Frank Harford and Gene Autry
"Sugar Babe (The Crawdad Song)," traditional.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Last of the Pony Express
Release Date:
November 1953
Production Date:
16 March--24 March 1953
Copyright Claimant:
Gene Autry Productions
Copyright Date:
31 August 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2868
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
sepia
Duration(in mins):
58
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16525
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Gene Autry, a division agent of the Pony Express, carefully patrols his territory, assuring the smooth running of the service. The approach of the telegraph across the West threatens the continued existence of the Express, however, and Gene plans to form a stage line to carry the mail after the Express' demise. Gene asks Tom McEwen, head of the territory Express line, to go in with him on the stage line, but Tom refuses, indignantly firing Gene when he chastises him for not accepting the inevitable realities of modernization. Meanwhile, wealthy Clyde Vesey, intent on obtaining Tom's government contract to start his own stage company, calls in a loan he made to Tom, who is unable to pay it. Vesey then takes six of the Express' horses as payment and orders his two henchmen, Dusty Creek relay chief Jess Hogan and farrier Dutch Murdoch, to sabotage Tom's line to force him out of business sooner. Dutch and Jess lay wire along the Express route and bring down rider Johnny Blair, who, after shooting his injured horse, runs the rest of the way to the next relay station. Gene continues patrolling the territory and discovers the wire that tripped Johnny, then comes upon several new telegraph wires that have been cut. Meanwhile, Tom is forced to double up his riders after several quit to find more secure jobs. Tom's daughter Katie pleads with her father to rehire Gene, but he stubbornly refuses. Vesey, Dutch and Jess smuggle a stagecoach into one of Vesey's barns in anticipation of ruining Tom. On Johnny's next ride, Dutch tries to send a rockslide into his path, but Gene intercedes in ... +


Gene Autry, a division agent of the Pony Express, carefully patrols his territory, assuring the smooth running of the service. The approach of the telegraph across the West threatens the continued existence of the Express, however, and Gene plans to form a stage line to carry the mail after the Express' demise. Gene asks Tom McEwen, head of the territory Express line, to go in with him on the stage line, but Tom refuses, indignantly firing Gene when he chastises him for not accepting the inevitable realities of modernization. Meanwhile, wealthy Clyde Vesey, intent on obtaining Tom's government contract to start his own stage company, calls in a loan he made to Tom, who is unable to pay it. Vesey then takes six of the Express' horses as payment and orders his two henchmen, Dusty Creek relay chief Jess Hogan and farrier Dutch Murdoch, to sabotage Tom's line to force him out of business sooner. Dutch and Jess lay wire along the Express route and bring down rider Johnny Blair, who, after shooting his injured horse, runs the rest of the way to the next relay station. Gene continues patrolling the territory and discovers the wire that tripped Johnny, then comes upon several new telegraph wires that have been cut. Meanwhile, Tom is forced to double up his riders after several quit to find more secure jobs. Tom's daughter Katie pleads with her father to rehire Gene, but he stubbornly refuses. Vesey, Dutch and Jess smuggle a stagecoach into one of Vesey's barns in anticipation of ruining Tom. On Johnny's next ride, Dutch tries to send a rockslide into his path, but Gene intercedes in time. When Gene follows Dutch back to the Vesey barn, however, Tom cuts him off and demands that he stop meddling with Express business. At the station, Vesey witnesses Gene comforting Katie, who laments that her father's obstinacy is bringing them to ruin. A few days later, Dutch and Jess, dressed as Indians, lead an attack on a distant relay station on Tom's line, stealing their horses. Gene, who has continued patrolling the line, attempts to stop the attack but is overwhelmed. Later at the Dusty Creek station, Jess feigns an injury, claiming that the Indians attacked his station and took his horses, and Gene rides off in search of the horses. When Johnny rides in with the mail, the only horse available is a wild stallion, which Gene breaks for Johnny so that he can continue his delivery. After Johnny returns, Vesey insinuates that Gene is flirting with Katie, who is Johnny's girl friend. Meanwhile, Gene discovers Vesey's barn with the hidden stagecoach and the missing Express horses, but is captured by Dutch. The next morning Express rider Yank arrives fatally wounded and reports before dying that he was attacked by Indians. Johnny, exhausted from doing double duty and bitter over Vesey's revelation, refuses to ride. Smiley Burnette, the station cook, finds Gene in the Vesey barn and frees him. When Gene returns to the station, Tom pleads with him to ride Johnny's route, but Gene reminds Johnny of his oath and inspires him to resume his duty. After Gene relates Vesey's plans to Tom, both men follow Johnny to Dusty Creek, where Vesey, Dutch and Jess celebrate, believing they have broken Tom's route. They hear Johnny approaching and force him off the road by shooting at him. Gene and Tom then ride up, and in the ensuing shootout, Jess is killed and Gene apprehends Dutch and Vesey before taking the mail and finishing the run on his horse Champion. Once the Express line is officially terminated, Gene and Tom are awarded the government contract and open their stage line, with Johnny as their lead driver. +

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

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.