Nevada City (June 20, 1941)
Released on June 20, 1941: It is stagecoach service vs the railroads in the 1860's, and someone is sabotaging them both, so that they fight each other, and only singing cowboy Roy Rogers can save the day.
Directed by Joseph Kane
Written by James R. Webb.
The Actors: Roy Rogers (Jeff Connors), George 'Gabby' Hayes (Gabby Chapman), Sally Payne (Jo Morrison), George Cleveland (Hank Liddell), Billy Lee (Chick Morrison), Joseph Crehan (Mark Benton), Fred Kohler Jr. (Jim Trevor and Black Bart), Pierre Watkin (Amos Norton), Jack Ingram (Sheriff Pat Daley), Chuck Baldra (stagecoach guard), Hank Bell (first stagecoach driver), Fred Burns (railroad worker), Yakima Canutt (second stage coach driver), Tommy Coats (posse rider), Spade Cooley (musician), Jack Kirk (train engineer), Rex Lease (masked henchman), Art Mix (henchman Anderson), Frank O'Connor (townsman), Syd Saylor (railroad spy posing as a drunk), Jack C. Smith (piano player), Henry Wills (train henchman), Bob Woodward (railroad crewman), Joe Yrigoyen (henchman).
Roy Rogers is at his best in this thriller about the rivalry between new railroad lines and the old stagecoach lines. Someone is paying a fellow named "Black Bart" to rob and steal from both the railroad and from the stagecoach line, and they each blame the other for their troubles. Roy works for the stagecoach line, and is like a surrogate father to young Chick Morrison, who's father was owner of the stage line before he died. His older sister Jo has a crush on Roy, but Roy doesn't seem to have 'eyes' for Jo.
As the movie opens, Roy and young Chick and Roy's side-kick Gabby are riding a stage into town, when a train steams by. Roy decides to race the train to the crossing, and barely makes it ahead of the train. After getting across the tracks, the stagecoach stops to rest, and to repair a loose shoe on one of the horses. The train also stops, and the owner of the railroad happens to be on the train. He gets off the train and tells Roy that he isn't behind the antics of Black Bart's attacks on the stage line, and that Black Bart is also hitting the rail line. Roy isn't sure he believes him, but slowly warms to him and says that he will take his message of 'peace' to the fellow running the stage line. When Roy tells the fellow running the stage line that the railroad owner comes in peace, and that he is not behind Black Bart, the fellow fires Roy on the spot.
Roy and Gabby manage to get a job with the railroad, above Gabby's protestations that he won't work on any 'swayback coffee pot on wheels!' But they do work for the railroad, and become even more convinced that some third party is behind Black Bart. Next, when Roy and Gabby figure that the train is about to be robbed, they head to the spot where they figure the robbery will take place. Unfortunately, there is some confusion, and the railroad owner is convinced that Roy is tied in with Black Bart, and has him put in jail. The railroad owner then plants a phony drunk / railroad spy in jail with Roy, to help him escape, and hopefully lead the phony drunk to Black Bart's hideout. Of course, Roy isn't tied in with Black Bart, and sees through the phony drunk anyway, so he escapes but keeps the phony drunk in the clink.
Meanwhile, because Black Bart leaves notes written as poetry whenever he holds up the stage or the railroad, Roy figures that it is the new piano player at the bar, who is always talking poetry to Jo, who is sweet on him to make Roy jealous. This all comes to a head when Roy learns that Black Bart plans to blow up the train the next morning while it is sitting in a tunnel, bringing ultimate disaster to the rail line. Black Bart and his men take over the train, but Roy gets on the train and holds his gun on the henchmen in the locomotive and orders them to stop the train before the tunnel. Unfortunately another henchman comes up behind Roy and hits him on the head with the butt of his gun and knocks him cold. So now the train will surely be blown up in the tunnel, with Roy out cold in the locomotive, sure to die in the explosion.
Will Roy survive? Will Black Bart and the master mind behind him be caught? Will Roy sing in this shoot-out special of a movie? Will Roy ever notice how pretty Jo is? Hmmmm . . . .