The Law of Contact

Man of the Frontier (Red River Valley) (March 2, 1936)

Gene Autry in Red River Valley

Released March 2, 1936: Gene Autry takes a job trying to protect a dam that outlaws are trying to destroy.

Directed by B. Reeves Eason

The Actors: Gene Autry (himself), Smiley Burnette (Frog Millhouse), Frances Grant (Mary Baxter), Boothe Howard (Steve Conway), Jack Kennedy (Mike the train engineer), Sam Flint (George Baxter), George Chesebro (Bull Dural, Conway's henchman), Charles King (Sam, Bull's dupe), Eugene Jackson (Iodine), Edward Hearn (Sheriff Ed), Frank LaRue (Banker Hartley Moore), Ken Cooper (henchman Long), Frankie Marvin (henchman Becker), C.E. Anderson (townsman), Chuck Baldra (barfly), Hank Bell (rancher), Horace B. Carpenter (construction worker), Monty Cass (townsman), Joe Cochin (musician), Earl Dwire (rancher), George 'Rusty' Fellowes (musician), Oscar Gahan (construction worker), Herman Hack (construction worker), Lloyd Ingraham (rancher), Tracy Layne (rancher Hank), Cactus Mack (construction worker), Cheyenne Martin (musician), William McCall (rancher), Jack Montgomery (barfly), Milburn Morante (townsman), George Morrell (rancher), Pascale Perry (barfly), Rose Plumer (rancher's wife), Bud Pope (townsman), Al Taylor (construction worker), Jay Wilsey (construction worker), John 'Snake' Wilson (musician).


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Man of the Frontier was released in theaters under the title "Red River Valley," and stars Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy. Gene Autry was a telegraph operator who played guitar and sang to ease the lonely hours at the telegraph office between customers. One day a customer heard him singing and advised him to try singing professionaly. He took Will Rogers advice and the rest is movie history. After successful cowboy singing for Columbia Records, Nat Levine discovered him and put Autry and his buddy Smiley Burnett in 44 sucessful western movies for Republic Pictures.

In this early Gene Autry story, the ranchers around the Red River Valley are building an irrigation system to ease the effects of many years of drought, but somebody is killing the 'ditch riders' that control the flow of water. Gene comes into town and decides that he wants to be the next ditch rider. The fact that the daughter of the fellow building the irrigation system is a pretty young girl is an added pleasure for Gene. After failing to kill Autry on his first day, whoever the culprit is tries to stop the money from reaching the workers so that they all quit. He arranges for the payroll to be stolen, and Autry is blamed, so he and Burnett must ride out of town in a hurry, with the whole town following in chase. It is up to Autry and his side-kick to find the thieves and return the payroll before the angry workers blow up the dam.