Gordon Young’s short story "Quarter Horse" was renamed "Born to the saddle" and adapted for the screen by Adele Buffington. " The film was directed by William "one Take" Beaudine.
Chuck Courtney plays Billy Walton, the son of a horse trainer who is killed under suspicious circumstances. When the ranch is snatched away from Billy, he sets out in search his uncle Joe for help.
He ends up risking his own life to save Matt Daggett a short-tempered gambler who sees Billy as his good luck charm and hires him. It takes Billy a while to realize that the sleek, smooth-talking Daggett is actually the head of a shady outfit. The cast includes Leif Erickson, Doleres Prest and "Leftist’ Karen Morley.
Breaking wild horses and training them were young Billy Walton’s passions and profession. The murder of his father and his search for the culprit introduce him to the harsh realities of the world. Was the man he suspected a friend or foe? An interesting plot for an early western.
Running Time: 77 Minutes
MPAA Ratings: NR (Suitable for Children)
Billy Walton and his father make a decent living by breaking and selling wild horses. Billy’s world changes suddenly when his father is killed and hooligans run him off his ranch. Swearing revenge, Billy sets off for town in search of his uncle Joe, who he believes will help him regain his ranch. Joe, however, is gunning for Matt Daggett, a short- tempered gambler. Joe takes a shot at Daggett, but Billy, who is talking to Daggett, takes the bullet. Daggett kills Joe, takes Billy under his care and nurses him back to health. He also employs Billy to train Blue Chip his prize quarter horse that he wants to enter in a big race. Billy is thrilled with the job, quite unaware of the fact that Daggett has other plans - to rig the race and place heavy odds on another horse.
Daggett sends Billy to live on a neighboring ranch with John Grant who gets mixed up with Daggett’s henchman Red Roper in a stagecoach robbery and hand is empty. News spreads and Billy is an overnight hero.
Roper is arrested for the stagecoach robbery and shootout. He promptly implicates Grant in the crime. Fearing that Roper would spill the beans on his links with the outlaw outfit, Daggett hires men to break into the jail and lynch both Roper and Grant. Roper is killed but Billy rescues Grant.
Race day arrives and Daggett distracts Billy enough to cripple Blue Chip who completes the race and wins despite the injury. Furious at loosing his money, Daggett attempts to shoot Blue chip claiming that the horse was lame. Marshal intervenes and is shot.
It doesn’t take Billy long to detect the wire tied to Blue Chips fetlock and to realize that it was his employer who was responsible for his father’s death and Grants hanging. When an angry Billy confronts Daggett in the saloon, Daggett tries to kill him. It is now Grant’s turn to save Billy. He kills Daggett but cannot save himself.
This is the definition of a genre film if ever there was one. It's a story of a gambler out west who gets into trouble and has to end up shooting his way out of it. In that sense it's a truely classic picture and perhaps the one that defined the genre. Think The Sting if it was set in the wild west and you have a pretty good idea of what this film is about. The restoration work on the film is well done adn it looks like it could have been filmed yesterday. written by Arthur
Adele S. Buffington
Donald Woods - Matt Daggett
Rand Brooks - John Grant
Glenn Strange - Tom Roper
Dan White - Sheriff
Robert Anderson - Ricky Summers (as Bob Anderson)
Lucille Thompson - Doris, the saloon girl
Boyd Davis - Judge Trumbull
Milton Kibbee - Doctor Granden
Fred Kohler Jr. - Jeff, barbershop gambler
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