In Old Oklahoma
Directed by Albert S. Rogell
aka " War of the Wildcats "
John Wayne as Daniel Somers
Martha Scott as Catherine Allen
Albert Dekker as James E. Gardner
George 'Gabby' Hayes as Desprit Dean
Marjorie Rambeau as Bessie Baxter
Dale Evans as 'Cuddles' Walker
Grant Withers as Richardson
Sidney Blackmer as Teddy Roosevelt
Paul Fix as The Cherokee Kid
Cecil Cunningham as Mrs. Ames
Irving Bacon as Ben, telegraph operator
When Cathy Allen leaves her job as a school after writing a steamy romance novel, she decides to try her luck out west. Romance doesn’t take long to find her when she becomes the source of conflict between oilman James Gardner and cowboy Daniel Somers. James is making a play for her hard and strong and she cozies up to Dan to dissuade him. The romantic shenanigans take a bad turn when she is found in James’ private car, quite against her will, and kicked off of the train. Dan gets off the train with her and encounters his old friend Desprit Dean who is still driving an aging stagecoach into the dawn of the automotive age. They are heading to Sepulpa, Oklahoma, where Jim has discovered oil as well. This puts him in even more direct conflict with James, who they pick up in the stagecoach after his car has broken down along the way. James requests that they stop at one of his rigs, and Cathy is visibly impressed at the site and the wealth it will generate. However the farmer the rig is now on is also present and very unhappy feeling that he got a bum deal for his farm when James bought it from him. This situation is part and parcel for James’ dealings as people don’t really know what they’ve got until after they’ve sold it away to James. Dan has to step in and stop the farmer and James from getting violent, and the group continues on its way in the stagecoach. Along the way, James asks Desprit to help him negotiate with a tribe of Indians who own the land atop of a huge pool of oil. Desprit agrees and Dan goes with him to the meeting with Chief Big Tree. James offers 12.5 percent of the proceeds from the oil, and Dan speaks up to tell the Chief that he should not take the deal. James is furious with Dan and leaves. The ranchers and the Indians seek Dan’s help in securing the oil rights, asking him to go to Washington D.C. and ask President Theodore Roosevelt himself. Dan served in the military with Roosevelt, and the ranchers believe that Dan is the perfect person to present their plight to the President. Dan is reluctant at first, but after seeing how James is winning at wooing Cathy due to his wealth and influence agrees to go to impress Cathy. They travel to Washington, where Dan tells the President he wants to split the proceeds with the Indians fifty-fifty. Roosevelt gives him a deadline of four months to get ten-thousand gallons of oil to Tulsa , or he will turn over the rights to James. After returning home, Dan is on schedule until James hires the Cherokee Kid to sabotage Dan’s oil rig, destroying it and killing a man in the process. Cathy goes to James to plead with him to leave Dan alone, but Dan sees them together and misconstrues the relationship, spurning Cathy as she tries to explain. Dan works up a plot to “borrow” a portable rig from James and use that to pump his oil. They then need to truck the oil to Tulsa , as James owns the only pipeline. James tries several times to sabotage Dan’s efforts, but is ultimately unsuccessful. Dan and Cathy are able to reconcile and start their plans for a new house.
Notes: Albert Dekker and Martha Scott reprised their roles in the film for a 60 minute radio adaptation for Lux Radio Theater in 1944.
Dale Evans had not yet met Roy Rogers when filming this movie, although they would eventually meet on a Republic Pictures lot.