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Courage of the West

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Courage of the West
Directed byJoseph H. Lewis
Written byNorton S. Parker
StarringBob Baker, J. Farrell MacDonald, Lois January, Fuzzy Knight
CinematographyVirgil Miller
Edited byCharles Craft
Music byFleming Allen
Release date
  • December 1, 1937 (1937-12-01) (USA)
Running time
56 minutes

Courage of the West was a 1937 "B" movie directed by Joseph H. Lewis in which Bob Baker made his debut as a singing cowboy.


The film was the first production that Joseph H. Lewis directed.[1] 75 non-union cowboys were hired in Sonora to work on the movie. Lewis was told that the Screen Actors Guild did not have jurisdiction at this distance from Los Angeles, although its members would have to be paid the standard rates agreed with the Guild.[2] Filming was completed in seven days.[3] This movie, Baker's first, was thought to be his best. The others suffered from predictable plots and poor scripts.[4] Lois January, the love interest in the film, said, "Bob Baker was too pretty! He was nice, but didn't get friendly. He didn't want me to sing a song in his picture. That business is full of jealousy...".[5]


The film is set during the American Civil War. It begins with a scene in which President Abraham Lincoln establishes the "Free Rangers" to protect gold shipments from the west. The film then tells the story of a ranger, played by J. Farrell MacDonald, who adopts the son of a convicted outlaw. The son is played by Bob Baker. He grows up and becomes the head of the Rangers. He finds himself in pursuit of a gang of gold robbers, not knowing that their leader is his natural father. After various twists and turns, the father is shot and the hero marries the girl with whom he has fallen in love, played by Lois January.[6] During breaks in the action, Baker sings Resting Beside the Campfire, Ride Along Free Rangers, Song of the Trail, and I'll Build a Ranch House on the Range. Fleming Allen wrote all these songs.[7]


A New York Times review said, "Nothing of cult director Joseph H. Lewis' much-vaunted flair is on display in this average musical Western".[7]

Notes and references


  1. ^ Sarris 1996, p. 132.
  2. ^ Segrave 2009, p. 165.
  3. ^ Courage of the West - IMDB.
  4. ^ Driscoll 2008, p. 42.
  5. ^ Fitzgerald & Magers 2009, p. 106.
  6. ^ Courage of the West - Brief Synopsis.
  7. ^ a b Wollstein 2010.


  • "Courage of the West - Brief Synopsis". Turner Classic Movies. Time Warner. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  • "Courage of the West (1937)". IMDB. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  • Fitzgerald, Michael G.; Magers, Boyd (2009-10-30). Ladies of the Western: Interviews With 25 Actresses from the Silent Era to the Television Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-3938-6. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
  • Sarris, Andrew (1996). The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968. Da Capo Press. p. 132. ISBN 978-0-306-80728-2. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  • Segrave, Kerry (2009-01-16). Film Actors Organize: Union Formation Efforts in America, 1912-1937. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4276-8. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
  • Wollstein, Hans J. (2010). "Courage of the West (1937)". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-01-29.
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Courage of the West
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