Whew! Back again after an unusually long holiday season with my family. The theater is reopening with a classic Roy Rogers film: My Pal Trigger
This film was arguably one of Roy’s personal favorites – and rightly so! Trigger’s character, first as Golden Sovereign and then as Trigger, does everything but talk. Interestingly enough, Roy starts the film riding a bay mare named Lady. Dale Evans gets the honor of riding Trigger. Roy plays a leather goods peddler and horse trader looking to mate his mare with the Golden Sovereign. The Sovereign is owned by grizzled goat Gabby Hayes. The magnificent palomino stallion is the sire of the best palomino colts in the country, owned and raised on Gabby’s Golden Horse Ranch. Gabby isn’t interested in risking a colt by an outsider’s mare. Roy’s timing isn’t the best either.
He rides up just as Susan Kendrick – Gabby’s daughter played by Dale Evans – is putting Sovereign through his paces for the neighbors. Sovereign is distracted by Lady and refuses to continue his performance. Things go from bad to worse as Roy continues to try to achieve his goal. He ends up getting roughly thrown out of a nightclub before he gives up. Meanwhile, a jealous neighbor, Scoval, is also looking for a colt by the Sovereign. He doesn’t play by the rules. Instead, he has two of his men horsenap Sovereign.
The Sovereign isn’t interested in Scoval’s mares, but he can’t get Lady off his mind. He breaks away from Scoval’s henchmen and goes for a happy moonlight romp through the hills with Lady. Roy gets in huge trouble when the Sovereign is later found dead in Roy’s temporary corral.
My Pal Trigger (1946)
79 minutes (black and white)
Producer: Armand Schaefer
Director: Frank McDonald
Screenplay: Jack Townley and John K. Butler
Cast: Roy Rogers, Trigger, Dale Evans, Bob Nolan and the Sons of the Pioneers, Gabby Hayes, Jack Holt, LeRoy Mason, Roy Barcroft, Sam Flint, Kenne Duncan, Ralph Sanford, Francis McDonald, Harlan Briggs, William Haade, Alan Bridge, Fred Graham, Ted Mapes
Plot: The strong story casts Roy as a horse trader who wants to breed his mare to the prize palomino stud, the Golden Sovereign (played by Trigger) at Gabby’s Golden Horse Ranch. Villain Scoval (Holt) has similar plans for his mare. Scoval tries to steal the Sovereign, but the palomino stallion ends up shot. Since the Sovereign was found dead in Roy’s corral, Roy is blamed and sent to jail. Roy jumps bail and takes off on his mare. A year later, Lady give birth to a beautiful palomino colt who Roy names Trigger. Roy returns to Gabby’s ranch once Trigger has grown up and attempts to give the colt as a gift to replace the Sovereign. Although Trigger is the spitting image of his sire, Gabby refuses the colt out of bitterness, and Roy is sent back to prison. Trigger is sold at auction and Scoval buys him. Roy must clear himself, win back Trigger, and convince Gabby that he’s not a horse killer. Of course, to do this Roy must find the real killer.
Songs: “Livin’ Western Style”, “Harriet”, “El Rancho Grande”, “Ole Faithful”, and “Long, Long Ago”