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Billy the Kid Returns (September 4, 1938)

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Roy Rogers in Billy the Kid Returns

Released on September 4, 1938: Roy Rogers looks exactly like the dead outlaw Billy the Kid, so Sheriff Pat Garrett uses him as a decoy to capture some renegade ranchers.

Directed by Joseph Kane

The Actors: Roy Rogers (Roy Rogers and Billy the Kid), Smiley Burnette (Frog Millhouse), Lynne Roberts (Ellen Moore), Morgan Wallace (J.B. Morganson), Fred Kohler (Matson), Wade Boteler (Sheriff Pat Garrett), Edwin Stanley (Nathaniel Moore), Horace Murphy (Mr. Miller, homesteader), Joseph Crehan (U.S. Marshal Dave Conway), Robert Emmett Keane (Mr. Page), Silver Tip Baker (townsman), Bob Burns (homesteader), Fred Burns (henchman), Bob Card (soldier), Jim Corey (henchman Bart), Art Dillard (henchman), Ralph Dunn (angry man), Fern Emmett (townswoman), Jack Evans (townsman), Oscar Gahan (musician), Betty Jean Hainey (Miller's first daughter), Al Haskell (homesteader), Lloyd Ingraham (Marshal Conway's deputy), Jack Kirk (henchman), Bruce MacFarlane (Army officer), Chris-Pin Martin (Ramon, hotel clerk), Bud McClure (Garrett's deputy), Robert McKenzie (storekeeper), George Montgomery (henchman), George Morrell (homesteader), Ray Nichols (Tommy Miller), Frank O'Connor (store customer), Fred Parker (townsman), Patsy Parsons (Miller's second daughter), Tex Phelps (townsman), Betty Roadman (townswoman), Tom Smith (Pat Garrett's deputy), Rudy Sooter (musician), Al Taylor (henchman Burton), Dorothy Vaughan (Mrs. Allen, homesteader's wife).

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Do you believe in life after death? In the first scene of this movie Sheriff Pat Garrett hunts down Billy the Kid and shoots him dead. Yes, deader than a door nail. Are door nails ever not-dead? Oh well, next, we see singing cowboy Roy Rogers riding his horse along the trail and singing a song. Wait a minute, this Roy Rogers is the spittin' image of the dead outlaw Billy the Kid. Sure as shootin' he is. Roy was a deputy Sheriff in Texas, but they figured he was too young to be a good deputy so he lost his job. Now he is riding over into New Mexico in search of work. At this particular time in history the west is still wild and untamed. The government is encouraging folks in the east to head west and settle the land, so they are offering free land to anyone that will settle down and improve the land by ranching or farming. In our tale, a few ranchers have had free reign of all of this land, and they do not like it one little bit that these tender-foot easterners are coming in and sectioning off their grazing territory and starting to farm. So the ranchers are burning and robbing the new settlers to get them to leave.

Into this scene Roy rides, and when he hits town he is immediately arrested because everyone is convinced that he is the infamous murdering outlaw Billy the Kid. Fortunately Sheriff Pat Garrett arrives and declares that he killed Billy the Kid the night before, and Roy is free to go. But as Roy is listening to the men talk about the lack of law and the renegade ranchers he offers to pretend to be Billy the Kid and help clean up the valley. Several songs later, along with fist fights, gun fire and lots of good cowboy action, he does just that. And of course he gets the only pretty young girl in the territory also. Of course. Pop a big bowl of hot buttery corn, grab a soda and enjoy a bit of the old wild west as we watch Roy Rogers and Smiley Burnette team up to bring justice to this little spot in the big lawless west.