Trail of the Vigilantes (1940)

73 or 75 mins | Comedy-drama, Western | 13 December 1940

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HISTORY

According to a news item in HR , Ray Taylor worked as second unit director on location at Kernville, CA. Although the onscreen credits attribute original screenplay to Harold Shumate, HR production charts list E. E. Paramore as screenwriter. HR also notes that the film was shot on location in Sonora, CA. This was Franchot Tone's first film after he departed Hollywood for Broadway in 1939. Modern sources add Hank Bell to the cast and credit Richard Riedel as art director and director Allan Dwan as producer. In modern interviews, Dwan claimed that the picture started out to be a serious drama, but because of its weak dramatic structure, he turned it into a ... More Less

According to a news item in HR , Ray Taylor worked as second unit director on location at Kernville, CA. Although the onscreen credits attribute original screenplay to Harold Shumate, HR production charts list E. E. Paramore as screenwriter. HR also notes that the film was shot on location in Sonora, CA. This was Franchot Tone's first film after he departed Hollywood for Broadway in 1939. Modern sources add Hank Bell to the cast and credit Richard Riedel as art director and director Allan Dwan as producer. In modern interviews, Dwan claimed that the picture started out to be a serious drama, but because of its weak dramatic structure, he turned it into a comedy. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
6 Dec 40
p. 3
Film Daily
12 Dec 40
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Oct 40
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
11 Oct 40
pp. 8-9.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 40
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 40
p. 3.
Motion Picture Daily
10 Dec 40
p. 6.
Motion Picture Herald
14 Dec 40
p. 41.
New York Times
7 Dec 40
p. 13.
Variety
11 Dec 40
p. 16.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
2d unit dir
Asst dir
WRITERS
Orig scr, Orig scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
Mus dir
General mus dir
SOUND
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit publ
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 December 1940
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 7 December 1940
Production Date:
began October 1940
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co.
Copyright Date:
12 December 1940
Copyright Number:
LP10120
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
73 or 75
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
6776
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

"Kansas" Tim Mason, a tenderfoot undercover agent from the East, is sent to the rough and tumble frontier town of Peaceful Valley to investigate the murder of a newspaper reporter. Kansas arrives to find Sheriff Korley and his deputies embroiled in a saloon brawl with the cowpuncher Swanee and his valet Meadows. When the lawmen rush the saloon, Kansas sides with Swanee and Meadows, and the brawl is finally stopped by the appearance of John Thornton, the cowpunchers' boss and Mark Dawson, the head of the Cattlemen's Protective Association. Swanee and Meadows convince Thornton to hire Kansas as well as Bolo, a Cossack cowboy, as cowhands, and they all ride back to the ranch where Kansas meets Thornton's seventeen year old daughter Barbara, who promptly falls in love with him. After Kansas learns that ranchers who have refused to join the protective association are being victimized by rustlers, he becomes suspicious of Dawson and searches his office, where he finds a ledger proving that Dawson has appropriated funds from the cattlemen. When Dawson surprises him in his office, Kansas escapes with the ledger, and Dawson demands his arrest. Jailed for robbery, Kansas is rescued by Bolo, Meadows and Swanee, who know that he is a federal marshal. After his escape, Kansas surmises that Dawson and his men plan to rob the stage of the 20,000 dollars raised by the cattlemen to pay for new grazing land, and with the help of his three friends, Kansas reclaims the strongbox from Dawson's men. Dawson then accuses Kansas of robbing the stage himself and demands his arrest. Intending to abscond with the cattlemen's funds, Dawson ... +


"Kansas" Tim Mason, a tenderfoot undercover agent from the East, is sent to the rough and tumble frontier town of Peaceful Valley to investigate the murder of a newspaper reporter. Kansas arrives to find Sheriff Korley and his deputies embroiled in a saloon brawl with the cowpuncher Swanee and his valet Meadows. When the lawmen rush the saloon, Kansas sides with Swanee and Meadows, and the brawl is finally stopped by the appearance of John Thornton, the cowpunchers' boss and Mark Dawson, the head of the Cattlemen's Protective Association. Swanee and Meadows convince Thornton to hire Kansas as well as Bolo, a Cossack cowboy, as cowhands, and they all ride back to the ranch where Kansas meets Thornton's seventeen year old daughter Barbara, who promptly falls in love with him. After Kansas learns that ranchers who have refused to join the protective association are being victimized by rustlers, he becomes suspicious of Dawson and searches his office, where he finds a ledger proving that Dawson has appropriated funds from the cattlemen. When Dawson surprises him in his office, Kansas escapes with the ledger, and Dawson demands his arrest. Jailed for robbery, Kansas is rescued by Bolo, Meadows and Swanee, who know that he is a federal marshal. After his escape, Kansas surmises that Dawson and his men plan to rob the stage of the 20,000 dollars raised by the cattlemen to pay for new grazing land, and with the help of his three friends, Kansas reclaims the strongbox from Dawson's men. Dawson then accuses Kansas of robbing the stage himself and demands his arrest. Intending to abscond with the cattlemen's funds, Dawson leaves for town just as Meadows, Bolo and Swanee appear to testify that Kansas is a marshal and to produce the ledger proving Dawson's guilt. The four then ride into town to confront Dawson and his men at the saloon. Startled by the sound of gunshots, Kansas' horse gallops into the saloon and begins to buck, thus diverting Dawson and his men long enough for Meadows, Bolo and Swanee to enter and apprehend the outlaws. With Dawson's arrest, Kansas settles down to marital bliss with Barbara, while Swanee and Meadows venture to Kansas City to become gentlemen. +

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.