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Visiting the small Western town of Red Rock, ranch hand Clay Conning (Kenneth Harlan) comes to the aid of a stranded theatrical troupe by raising money to pay their overdue hotel bill. He falls for the company's leading lady, Mary, but romances a local theater owner's wife to secure a venue for the show. Just as things appear to be turning profitable, however, a daring holdup by escaped convict Frank Blake cleans out the box-office safe. Worse yet, a vengeful Blake captures Clay, the man whose testimony sent him to prison. Granite-jawed Kenneth Harlan, who enjoyed several years of stardom after playing the title role in a 1923 adaptation of The Virginian, was nearing the end of his days as a leading man when he made this oddball early talkie, a fusion of contemporary Western with musical comedy. Forgotten by all but the most rabid movie buffs, Under Montana Skies is important as a precursor of the musical Westerns made popular years later by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers. It provides the same mixture of songs, six-guns, and silliness that would dominate the "B" horse opera for many years.

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ALP6647 Under Montana Skies DVD (1930/Kenneth Harlan) $5.99