Feb 19

Under Western Stars (1938) Uncut Version

Under Western Stars (1938)

Uncut Version

This is Dad’s (Roy Rogers) and Trigger’s first starring film. It was released in 1938 and was voted one of the best Westerns released that year.

One of the songs in the film, “Dust,” was nominated for an Oscar.

While I was director of the Roy Rogers – Dale Evans Museum in Victorville, CA, my husband Larry Barnett and I raised money to get this, Dad’s first starring movie, restored. Most of the monies were

donated by Jim Rogers of Las Vegas, NV but about a quarter of the funds were raised from our loyal museum membership.

The film was kept in storage by UCLA, so we worked with their wonderful film department. It was difficult restoring the film as 14 minutes of the original footage was missing from what UCLA had, even though they did have three or four 35mm prints of the film. UCLA eventually found 7 more minutes of 35mm film but the final 7 minutes were nowhere to be found. Other film vaults in the US were contacted, as well as those in England and The Netherlands. Finally, a whole print (the director’s copy) was located in New England but it was a 16mm print.

The magicians at UCLA took that copy and went over it, enlarging it frame by frame. I know that some of the experts can probably still spot where the film was spliced but I have a really hard time identifying where the films were joined (it is in several spots).

UCLA has been very gracious in making the restored film available to the Turner Film Festival and a couple of other museum’s and historic theaters for viewing. I have been very lucky and have introduced the film four times now.

I am sorry but the fully restored version is not available for purchase here nor, as far as I know, is it available anywhere else. But, we hope you enjoy this edited version.

Roy runs for Congress to go to Washington and bring the turmoil of the dustbowl to attention but greedy villains are out to use peoples hardships to make a profit!
Filmed on location in the Alabama Hills of Lone Pine, California.

Directed by Joseph Kane
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Screenplay by
Dorrell McGowan
Stuart E. McGowan
Betty Burbridge
Story by
Dorrell McGowan
Stuart E. McGowan

Roy Rogers
Smiley Burnette
Carol Hughes
Maple City Four
Music by Alberto Colombo (uncredited)
Cinematography Jack Marta
Edited by Lester Orlebeck
Republic Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
April 20, 1938 (USA)
Running time
65 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Roy Rogers as Roy Rogers
Trigger as Trigger
Smiley Burnette as Frog
Carol Hughes as Eleanor Fairbanks
Maple City Four as Singers
Guy Usher as John Fairbanks
Tom Chatterton as Congressman Edward H. Marlowe
Kenneth Harlan as Richards
Alden Chase as Tom Andrews
Brandon Beach as Senator Wilson
Earl Dwire as Mayor Biggs
Jean Fowler as Mrs. Wilson
Dora Clement as Mrs. Marlow
Dick Elliott as William P. Scully
Burr Caruth as Larkin
Slim Whitaker as Tremaine
Jack Rockwell as Sheriff
Frankie Marvin as Deputy Pete


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  1. Pie

    This little movie surprised me! I know his later films often deal with environmental issues and greedy corporate bad guys but I’ve never seen a movie from the 1930s that did, or one from that time that used real footage of environmental disasters (the way this one does in the scene where he sings ‘Dust”). It seems very ahead of its time in those ways and perfect for establishing his character as a moral hero. Even though he still looked like a school boy in his late 20s!

    Thank goodness for your efforts and everyone who contributed to restoring it. That is also the work of a hero! Roy is important to American culture, we need his movies and his message. Thank you so much for your hard work and generosity in sharing these movies Cheryl, it’s very appreciated!

    1. Cheryl

      Although this was his first chance to show what he could do, I think his first starring movie is one of his very best. Really good script (it was originally supposed to be a Gene Autry movie) and a super supporting cast.

  2. Linda Rose

    Thank you so much for sharing this movie and all the others of your Dad’s. We only had TV a very short while when I was a child and I only ever saw a few of the episodes of the Roy Rogers TV show, Now I am 71 yrs. and internet at home finally. I have been enjoying all the old western shows I missed. Also have been enjoying all the interviews and music your parents performed. Have a nice day. Linda Rose

  3. Don Mull Sr

    Loved this… I saw Roy in Person in 1960 at he Iowa State Fair. I was only 8 but can still see it all in my mind. I was way up at the top so was kinda hard to see plus a very yrs later got glasses cause I couldn’t see far. But in My MINDS EYE I CAN STILL SEE IT. Seems all the kids and Trigger was there. Not sure about Buttermilk. I have all your Dads Movies on VHS Tapes and DVD’s plus the TV series on DVD a few times. Not the best Quality but I still have them.. Thank You Again for the MEMORIES you bring back to everyone..

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