Henry Goes Arizona (1939)
Hank Conroy (Frank Morgan) is a vaudeville performer looking for work (from Theatrical Agent Cliff Clark uncredited) when he receives notice from his landlady to whom he owes back rent that his half brother has died and left him a ranch in Arizona. So Henry Goes to Arizona. On the bus ride to the desert community he is frightened by stories that his brother was murdered shot in the back. Jim Thorpe appears uncredited as one of its passengers. Hank then learns that his brother was a ruthless rancher and that the jury has just deadlocked in the trial of Danny Regan (Owen Davis Jr.) suspected by few of his brother’s murder. Judge Van Treece (Guy Kibbee) had failed to earn an acquittal for his client so Sheriff Parton (Slim Summerville) one of the ones who doesn’t think he did it must lock Danny up.
Crooked banker Ed Walsh (Porter Hall uncredited) tries to get Hank to sign away the ranch before he’s even seen it. His partner in crime Ricky Dole (Douglas Fowley) was not only responsible for the murder of Hank’s brother but is also the foreman of the ranch. Walsh and Dole were conspiring to obtain the rights to the ranch and its riches before Hank showed up. The skittish Hank is not so sure he wants to stay and would rather return to New York before the Judge convinces him that it would be safer if he spent the night out at the ranch. Once he’s there he meets Molly Cullison (Virginia Weidler) who first claims she was Hank’s brother’s niece before she admits that she only wishes it were true. Molly charms Hank and seems to give him the courage he needs to stand up to those who would run him off. Emboldened by Molly Hank fires Dole who along with another conspirator then spreads vicious rumors among the other ranchers saying that Hank plans changes that would be detrimental to their businesses.
However Hank comes up with a plan to feed the disgruntled posse (Hank Bell & Eddie Dunn are among those who appear uncredited in this group) as he charms them to the point that they ignore Dole’s false claims about Hank’s intentions. Convinced he’s still in danger (having been shot at) Hank decides to return to New York over Molly’s fervent protestations and tears. But the Judge pretends to kidnap Molly and interrupts Hank just before he’s signed over his ranch to Walsh with the news. While Hank with the Judge in tow starts his search Walsh and Dole discuss what they’ve done thus far and what they plan to do next to get Hank to give up the ranch to them. In the barn Molly overhears this so they catch and really kidnap her. Danny who the Sheriff had allowed Molly to “spring” from his jail earlier learns of Molly’s kidnapping and the Sheriff allows him to escape again to try and help find her. The rest of the film is the search and rescue of Molly in which Hank shows newfound fortitude and his vaudeville ingenuity to save the day.