Bells of Coronado (January 8, 1950)
Released on January 8, 1950: In the 1950 age of atomic energy, uranium is being stolen, and Roy Rogers must stop the thieves.
Directed by William Witney
Written by Sloan Nibley.
The Actors: Roy Rogers (Roy Rogers), Dale Evans (Pam Reynolds), Pat Brady (Sparrow Biffle), Grant Withers (Craig Bennett), Leo Cleary (Dr. Frank Harding), Clifton Young (Ross), Robert Bice (Jim Russell), Stuart Randall (the sheriff), John Hamilton (Mr. Linden, insurance company official), Edmund Cobb (Rafferty), Eddie Lee (Shanghai the cook), Rex Lease (shipping company foreman), Lane Bradford (shipping smuggler), Foy Willing (Foy), Riders of the Purple Sage (power company linemen and musicians), George Bamby (power lineman and musician), Duke Green (henchman Pete), Post Park (second wagon driver), Darol Rice (power lineman and musician), Loren Riebe (henchman), Henry Rowland (the foreign smuggler), Al Sloey (power lineman and musician), Ken Terrell (henchman).
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This movie could be described as, "Cowboys meet the Atomic Age." Roy Rogers is busy working on his ranch when his cook Shanghai rings the dinner bell, calling him back to the ranch house, where there are two businessmen waiting for him. An insurance company official wants to hire Roy to check on a stolen shipment of uranium from a uranium mine near the Cornoado Dam. Roy takes the job and heads for Coronado. He discovers that the previous owner of the uranium mine was killed, and a new owner took over.
On the way to Coronado he is riding his horse Trigger, and he comes up to a lady (Dale Evans) walking along the dusty road, because her car was stranded by some wayward cattle. She takes an instant dislike to Roy and arranges to steal his horse while he is picking up the scattered items from her dropped purse. When Roy gets to town to find the lady and his horse, he is met by three big fellows that the lady convinces to attack Roy, because she believes he must be a bad fellow. After a pretty good fist fight, Roy is cleared, and the lady apologizes.
Next, Roy heads over to the doctor's office where he hears what seems to be cries for help. It seems that the doctor is removing a mustard plaster from the chest of Sparrow Biffle (Pat Brady, Roy's side-kick in his television show), and Sparrow is howling with pain as the doctor tries to slowly remove it. Roy walks over with a smile on his face and quickly rips the plaster from Sparrow's chest. The next morning, Roy and Sparrow ride over to the mine, and get a cold reception from a fellow that is guarding a shipment of uranium ore headed for a warehouse in town. But Sparrow is suspicious, and they discover that the real mine workers have been tied up in a building, and it is the crooks that have taken the wagon load of uranium ore to deliver to their boss. Roy and Sparrow chase the wagon and Roy recovers the wagon and takes it to town to be stored in the mine's warehouse.
Later, Roy gets a geiger counter that indicates a uranium source in the doctor's office in a place that it should not be. Roy now suspects the doctor, and has an autopsy done of the previous mine owner that died in the doctor's office earlier, and he discovers that the man was poisoned by the doctor. I will save most of the rest of the plot for you to discover, but it ultimately leads to a foreign-voiced stranger with a plane, ready to take the uranium to a foreign country eager for our atomic assets.
If you are a fan of Roy Rogers, you know that there will be lots of singing, and this one doesn't disappoint. Roy and Dale even sing a verse in pretty good Spanish. The henchmen are challenging, the fist fights are pretty good, the high-tension ending is better than normal . . . I believe that this is one of the better stories that Roy Rogers is in.