In his starring debut Roy gets elected to congress in order to bring water to the ranchers in his district. In Washington he learns he needs the backing of a key congressman and gets that man to go west for an inspection trip. When the Congressman is initally unimpressed, Roy gets the inspection party stranded without water to show the true conditions.Written by
Maurice VanAuken <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This was Roy Rogers' first starring film for Republic Pictures, and while he was a hit with movie fans and exhibitors, it was a full five years (1943) before he received billing as "King of the Cowboys". See more »
A Year Before Mr. Smith went to Washington, Roy Rodgers did, and for much the same reasons
*Mr. Smith Goes to Washington*, one of the greatest movies ever made, was released in 1939. I can't believe that the director, Frank Capra, did not see *Under Western Stars* the year before, because the plots are so very similar: a neophyte, but the son of a congressman, is elected to Congress and tries to fight corruption there to get a decent land bill for the people back home despite all the corruption in Washington.
Yes, Jimmy Stewart's portrayal of the neophyte congressman is better - it is one of the towering performances in American cinema. But that does not lesson the achievement of Roy Rodgers here, as the son of a congressman who is elected to Congress to fight congressional corruption and help the farmers and ranchers back home in the West.
If you only know Rodgers from his 1950s Saturday morning tv show, you owe it to yourself to see this movie, which was ripped from the headlines of the late 1930s, the era of the dustbowl. No, Rodgers isn't a great actor, but he doesn't embarrass himself playing a man who wants to help Westerners who are being ruined by the big money interests of the day. (If you think that's a dated topic, you don't read a real newspaper.) The characterizations are simple and direct, but that doesn't make them any less valid. This was a very topical movie dealing with a very important contemporary topic, and it deals with it very well.
And there are some good tunes, too.
This is not just a cowboy movie. This is a ripped from the headlines presentation of contemporary issues, portrayed very honestly. It merits a much better rating than others have given it here.
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