Movie Mirrors Index

Let Freedom Ring

(1939 b 87')

En: 6 Ed: 5


A singing lawyer pretends to go along with a railroad capitalist oppressing a town while secretly publishing a newspaper to awaken voters.

Maggie Adams (Virginia Bruce) sees a railroad being built. Ned Wilkie (Louis Jean Heydt) and Pop Wilkie (Gabby Hayes) tell editor Underwood (Raymond Wallburn) their house was burned by Jim Knox (Edward Arnold). Ned Wilkie knocks down Gagan (Trevor Bardette), who pulls a gun but is wounded by saloon owner Rutledge (H. B. Warner). Judge David Bronson (Guy Kibbee) ignores evidence and confiscates the Wilkies' land. Knox passes out money, but Maggie calls him a thief. Immigrant railroad workers arrive singing, and Knox welcomes their foreman Chris Mulligan (Victor McLaglen). Knox and his men call on Tom Logan (Lionel Barrymore). In the barn Steve Logan (Nelson Eddy keeps a man from starting a fire and is wounded. Knox argues with Tom about progress and offers him $1 an acre. Steve arrives and gives Knox a drink. When the lawyer Steve befriends Knox, Tom asks his son to leave.

In town Steve sings "Home Sweet Home" and greets Maggie after four years. Steve tells her he is going to help the railroads, making her angry. Steve sings "Dead Broke," and Knox hires Steve to sing "Love Serenade" for Maggie. Steve tells the Mackerel (Charles Butterworth) he must win Knox's confidence. Steve and Mackerel steal the printing equipment and abduct Underwood. Maggie apologizes to Steve, who keeps Mulligan away by singing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling." Their newspaper exposes Knox and Mulligan, who takes the papers. Steve tells Knox he will find the press. Mulligan goes looking. Steve, Mackerel, and Underword work in a cave. Maggie overheard Knox and finds Steve in the hills, taking his horse. While Mackerel searches with Mulligan, Underwood wrecks the press. Knox asks Maggie to marry, and she tells Steve that she agreed. Steve sings "Dusty Road" and advises Knox to get another press.

Steve and Mackerel rob the stage of the press for the Wasp. At a dance Steve sings the patriotic "Where Else But Here." Mulligan objects to the papers. Steve takes papers to Tom, who is happy but then is shot by Knox's men. Steve holds a gun on Mulligan but agrees to fight him. Steve shows him his father's house burning and knocks Mulligan out as Maggie arrives and embraces Steve. Knox asks Tom who is the Wasp until Steve arrives. Knox asks the sheriff to arrest Steve; but he bets on the men to rise up against Knox, who gets his employees to start leaving. Maggie and Steve sing "America" with Mulligan, and the men join in. Mulligan tells Knox to get out, and Steve kisses Maggie.

In this musical western a railroad magnate is overthrown by a young lawyer, who steals two presses to publish stories that expose the local injustices. The strength of immigrant diversity and freedom triumphs.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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