Twilight in the Sierras

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Twilight in the Sierras
Twilight in the Sierras.jpg
Theater poster with top billing given to
Rogers and his horse Trigger, 1950
Directed by William Witney
Produced by Edward J. White
Written by Sloan Nibley
Starring Roy Rogers
Dale Evans
Estelita Rodriguez
Pat Brady
Music by Stanley Wilson
Cinematography John MacBurnie
Edited by Tony Martinelli
Republic Pictures
Distributed by Republic Pictures
Release date
March 22, 1950[1][2]
Running time
67 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Twilight in the Sierras is a 1950 American Trucolor Western film directed by William Witney and starring Roy Rogers and his horse Trigger (billed in the film's opening credits as "The Smartest Horse in the Movies"), along with Dale Evans, Estelita Rodriguez, and Pat Brady.[3][4][5]


Ricardo Chavez, a convicted counterfeiter on parole, is kidnapped and blackmailed to engrave bogus printing plates for Matt Brunner, the wealthy California developer of a Morongo Valley hunting lodge, who is also the leader of an outlaw gang. Although Ricardo now wants to pursue an honest life and forget his criminal past, Brunner threatens to harm or kill his sister Lola if he refuses to do the illegal work. Roy Rogers is Ricardo's parole officer; and with the help of Pat Callahan, a female deputy sheriff (Dale Evans), Roy uncovers the counterfeiting operation, saves Lola and her brother, and defeats the gang.


Production notes[edit]

  • Twilight in the Sierras was filmed in less than four weeks, between mid-September and early October 1949.[6]
  • The exterior scenes for Twilight in the Sierras were filmed at the 500-acre Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, Los Angeles, located in the northwestern part of California's San Fernando Valley.[7]
  • By 1950, Estelita Rodriguez had become a familiar face to theatergoers attending Roy Rogers' films. Republic Pictures between 1945 and 1951 cast her in nine productions with the "King of the Cowboys". Twilight in the Sierras is the sixth film of those nine.[8]
  • As in a series of previous Roy Rogers films and later in The Roy Rogers Show on television, Twilight in the Sierras is thematically and stylistically an anachronistic blend of Hollywood's portrayal of the American West of the 1870s and contemporary America, complete with electric lights, telephones, radios, and other modern conveniences. Horses and wagons remain the principal means of conveyance in Twilight in the Sierras even though cars, trucks, and buses are periodically in scenes; and characters shoot it out with classic cowboy six-shooters and Winchester rifles instead of using automatic rifles and submachine guns. In its 1950 review of Twilight in the Sierras, the popular trade paper Variety notes the film's selective use of both the old and the new: "Plot is a curious mixture of modern gangsterism in wild west dress which the kids most likely won't mind or even notice."[9]


Reviewers in 1950 generally found Twilight in the Sierras predictable but entertaining, especially for Republic Picture's targeted younger or "juve" (juvenile) audiences. Variety commented about such targeting as part of its own assessment of the production:

"Twilight in the Sierras" is a standard Roy Rogers pic slanted at the juve action trade. All the ingredients are used in this oatuner, which boasts a better-than-usual score. But the kiddies will go for the hard-riding, rootin'-tootin' yarn which keeps the characters galloping from start to finish. Trucolor tinting adds to the production values despite the overall untrue reproduction of facial and landscape hues.

...Rogers is as standard as the script, getting a good assist from Dale Evans, as the daughter of the local sheriff; his hoss, Trigger, and the Riders of the Purple Sage vocal group. Top songs include "It's One Wonderful Day" and "Rootin', Tootin' Cowboy" with Estelita Rodriguez, as a visiting Cuban gal, neatly handling "Pancho's Rancho."[9][10]

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Twilight in the Sierras", release date and production details, American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved August 14, 1950.
  2. ^ "Republic Pictures Corp./Features And Release Dates" (1950), Twilight in the Sierras, "Mar. 22", Film Daily Year Book 1951 (New York, N.Y.), page 220. Internet Archive, San Francisco, California. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Credits transcribed from a recorded broadcast of Twilight in the Sierras presented on Grit TV on August 9, 2018; television network is a subsidiary of Katz Broadcasting, E. W. Scripps Company, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  4. ^ Dimmitt, Richard Bertrand (1967). An actor guide to the talkies: a comprehensive listing of 8,000 feature-length films from January, 1949, until December, 1964. Scarecrow Press. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  5. ^ White, Raymond E. (July 2006). King of the Cowboys, Queen of the West: Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Popular Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-299-21004-5. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Original Print Information", Twilight in the Sierras, Turner Classic Movies (TCM), Turner Broadcasting System, a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc., New York, N.Y. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Twilight in the Sierras (1950)", Internet Movie Database (IMDb), a subsidiary of Amazon, Seattle, Washington. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  8. ^ "Filmography" of Estelita Rodriguez, catalog of the American Film Institute (AFI), Los Angeles, California. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Herm." (1950). "Twilight in the Sierras", film review, Variety (New York, N.Y.), April 5, 1950, page 6; Internet Archive, San Francisco, California. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  10. ^ The term "oater" was a period slang term in the film industry for a Western. As used in the cited review by Variety, "oatuner" was a more specific term for "singing Westerns", Roy Rogers' specialty.

External links[edit]