King of the Cowboys (1943)

King of the Cowboys (1943)

“Every town we play has an explosion or a fire.”

Rodeo star Roy Rogers is asked by his governor (Russell Hicks) to help locate a gang of saboteurs who have been setting fires and explosions in towns across Texas. When a carnival comes to town, Rogers and his sidekick (Smiley Burnette) begin to think a phony mind reader (Gerald Mohr) may have something to hide; meanwhile, Rogers kindles a romance with Mohr’s pretty assistant (Peggy Moran).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Amateur Sleuths
  • Cowboys
  • Musicals
  • Westerns

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary notes that this “enjoyable Roy Rogers western” was “possibly his best” — and I’ll have to believe him, since I haven’t seen any others. It’s full of hummable songs (Rogers has a fine voice) and a host of serial-flick conventions: a dastardly “bad guy” (black mustache and all) whose crimes of sabotage have suitably vague motives; a message in invisible ink; a mysterious code word (“triplets”); cars being run off cliffs; and more. Fortunately, it’s all “brisk” and “witty”, and, as Peary notes, “it’s easy to see [Rogers’] appeal.” Film fanatics will surely be curious to check out at least one film starring the “King of the Cowboys”, and this one should likely be it.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Plenty of suspenseful serial-flick sequences
  • Some charming cowboy ditties

Must See?
Yes, simply as a representative Roy Rogers film.


  • Representative Film


One thought on “King of the Cowboys (1943)

  1. First viewing.

    Largely in agreement with the review response. But this isn’t really a must. However, for its type, it’s a nicely written/directed/acted mini-Western.

    Fave bit: Rogers athletically manages to get and use the ax.

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