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Call of the Canyon (1942)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Comedy | 17 August 1942 (USA)
Gene heads some cattlemen who have been swindled by McCoy. McCoy needed their money to pay off his gambling debt.


Joseph Santley


Maurice Rapf (story), Olive Cooper (story) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Gene Autry ... Gene Autry
Smiley Burnette ... Frog Millhouse
Sons of the Pioneers ... Musicians, Cowhands
Ruth Terry ... Katherine 'Kit' Carson
Thurston Hall ... Grantley B. Johnson
Joe Strauch Jr. ... Tadpole Millhouse
Cliff Nazarro ... Pete Murphy
Dorothea Kent ... Jane Oakley
Edmund MacDonald ... Thomas McCoy
Marc Lawrence ... Horace Dunston
John Harmon ... Pigeon
John Holland ... Willy Hitchcock


Cattle buyer McCoy has run up gambling debts. When Gene and the other ranchers are ready to sell their cattle, he undercuts his bosses price planning to pocket the profit. The ranchers then try to drive their cattle to another market but McCoy's men set off an explosion and a rancher is killed. Knowing McCoy listens to the horse race results, Gene sets up a phony radio broadcast hoping to trap him. Written by Maurice VanAuken <mvanauken@a1access.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE COWBOY ALL AMERICA TOOK TO IT'S HEART! The Greatest Western Star Ever Featured In Films In His Most Outstanding Triumph! (original print ad) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

17 August 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cavalgada Infernal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Republic Pictures (I) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The budget (expected cost of production) was exactly $129,808 and the final cost was $129, 132 meaning the film came in under budget. A rarity. See more »


Remade as Hills of Oklahoma (1950) See more »


Coronation March
from "Le Prophete"
Music by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Arranged by Mort Glickman and Raoul Kraushaar
See more »

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User Reviews

Plenty of Action and Music to Enjoy
23 October 2005 | by krorieSee all my reviews

The year 1942 was Gene's last year as the number one cowboy in American, a rank he had held for almost a decade. When he went away to war, Roy Rogers became the King of the Cowboys. Though Gene was able to regain some of his popularity, especially on early television, he was never again number one. "Call of the Canyon" was one of his last movies before he left the screen to serve as a flier with the Air Transport command during World War II. Also by 1942 music was beginning to play a larger role in his films. The grand finale of "Call of the Canyon" is more like a Hollywood musical extravaganza than the end of a western where the cowboy rides off into the sunset. Unlike fellow singing cowboy Roy Rogers, Gene put as much effort into his recordings as his movies and sold millions. So music was always a key element in his life. His sidekick and lifelong pal, Smiley Burnette, was also into music and wrote over 400 songs, such as "Lazy Day" and "Ridin' Down The Canyon." Even with the music, there is still plenty of action. It seems a representative of the chief cattle buyer is shortchanging the cattlemen, headed by Gene, to pay off his gambling debts. The chief cattle buyer, Grantley B. Johnson (Thurston Hall) goes incognito as a cattleman to find out why the ranchers are so disgruntled with his prices. This leads to lots of action in trying to drive the cattle to market for a fair price. When the representative Thomas McCoy (Edmund MacDonald) uses explosives to stop the drive, one of the cattlemen is killed. The film has a subplot about a local band trying to make it big on the radio. The lead singer is known as Kit Carson (Ruth Terry) and becomes unhappy when Gene gets more of the spotlight than she does. Gene Autry westerns usually took place in the modern west, so airplanes and other motor vehicles are usually seen. In "Call of the Canyon," radio is used to catch the bad guys.

Smiley is around for laughs. This time he has a young sidekick who had appeared with him in earlier films, Tadpole Millhouse (Joe Strauch Jr.). Tadpole looks, acts, and talks like Frog, who is not really his father because Frog is supposed to be single, but more like a father figure to the little tad. When the little tad is injured in the explosion Frog sits up with him at the hospital. So the viewer knows that the two are as close as father and son.

The legendary Sons of the Pioneers are around to help with the music. They were at the top of their form in 1942 and add much to the musical numbers in the film. One of their founding members, Leonard Slye, was no longer with them for now he was Roy Rogers, a friendly rival to Gene and his gang.

If you're a Gene Autry fan, get ready for action and music. You're sure to enjoy "Call of the Canyon."

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