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Shooting High
Shooting High Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byAlfred E. Green
Screenplay by
Produced byJohn Stone[1]
CinematographyErnest Palmer
Edited byNick DeMaggio
Music bySamuel Kaylin[1]
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 26, 1940 (1940-04-26) (U.S.)
Running time
66 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States

Shooting High is a 1940 American Western film directed by Alfred E. Green and starring Jane Withers, Gene Autry, and Marjorie Weaver. Written by Lou Breslow and Owen Francis, the film is about a generations-old feud between two families that is resurrected when the town banker tries to contrsuct a highway through the area bearing a monument to the frontiersman ancestor of one of the families.[2] Shooting High was Gene Autry's first film away from Republic Pictures, his first as a mere co-star, his first without the comic presence of Smiley Burnette since 1934, and his first playing a character other than himself.[3]


The Carsons and the Pritchards have been feuding in the town of Carson's Corners for generations. The budding romance between Will Carson (Gene Autry) and Marjorie Pritchard (Marjorie Weaver) is now being threatened by the long-standing feud. Margorie's father, Calvin Pritchard (Frank M. Thomas), is the bank president and mayor of Carson's Corners. Calvin pretends to support Will's courtship of his daughter because he needs to acquire a piece of Carson property for a proposed highway through the area. When Will learns of Calvin's true motives, he accuses Marjorie of scheming with her father to steal Carson land.

The long simmering feud between the Carsons and the Pritchards erupts over Will's accusation. Just as the families renew their bickering, Gabby Cross (Jack Carson), a publicity agent for Spectrum Pictures, arrives in town and offers the townspeople $20,000 to use Carson's Corners as a filming location for a movie he is making about Wild Bill Carson, Will's grandfather and the founder of Carson Corners. Still angered by Will's undermining his highway plan, Calvin refuses Gabby's offer. His youngest daughter, Jane (Jane Withers), suggests a compromise that would allow Spectrum Pictures to use the town as a filming location if the highway proposal were approved by the Carsons.

With all parties agreeing to the proposal, the movie company arrives in town and begins production. The star of the film, Bob Merritt (Robert Lowery), begins to court Marjorie. Wanting her sister to marry Will, Jane and the sheriff devise a plan to frighten Merritt out of town, telling him a lynch party is after him. After Merritt leaves town, the head of Spectrum Pictures threatens to sue Pritchard for the defection. Gabby suggests giving the part to Will, who agrees on the condition that Pritchard extend the Carson mortgages.

While the movie is being filmed, three gangsters arrive in town. During a bank hold-up scene, the three gangsters put on actors' costumes and steal the money from the bank. Learning of the theft, Will pursues the gangsters on horseback, catches them, and brings them back to Carson Corners with the money. Will's heroic actions wins the respect of the Pritchards, as well as Margorie's respect and hand in marriage.[2]




The person responsible for bringing Gene Autry to 20th Century Fox for Shooting High was Jane Withers, at the time the number 6 box office draw in the country.[4] The thirteen-year-old movie star called Joseph M. Schenck, then head of 20th Century Fox, directly telling him she wanted to do a film with Gene Autry. Schenck liked the idea, but suspected Republic Pictures would never load out the singing cowboy to another studio. Withers then contacted the head of Republic Pictures, Herbert J. Yates, and suggested that a group of Fox contract players be loaned to Republic in exchange for Autry. The studios agreed and the film became a hit.[5] Autry, who earned $71,000 per year at Republic, earned $25,000 for his work in this film.[6]


Shooting High was filmed November 18 to December 16, 1939.

Filming locations


  • Foxy Callahan
  • Frank McCarroll
  • Henry Wills[2]


  • "Wanderers" (Felix Bernard, Paul Francis Webster) by Gene Autry and Jane Withers
  • "Shanty of Dreams" (Gene Autry, Johnny Marvin) by Gene Autry and Jane Withers
  • "Only One Love in a Lifetime" (Gene Autry, Johnny Marvin, Harry Tobias) by Gene Autry
  • "Little Old Band of Gold" (Gene Autry, Charles Newman, Fred Glickman) by Gene Autry
  • "On the Rancho with My Pancho" (Harry Akst, Sidney Clare)
  • "Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)" (Richard Wagner)[2]


  1. ^ a b c Magers 2007, p. 158.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Magers 2007, p. 159.
  3. ^ Magers, pp. 158–160.
  4. ^ Magers 2007, p. 160.
  5. ^ Fitzgerald & Magers 2006, pp. 311–315.
  6. ^ George-Warren 2009, p. 187.
  • Fitzgerald, Michael G.; Magers, Boyd (2006). Ladies of the Western: Interviews with Fifty-One More Actresses from the Silent Era to the Television Westerns of the 1950s and 1960s. McFarland. ISBN 9780786426560.
  • George-Warren, Holly (2007). Public Cowboy no. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195177466.
  • Green, Douglas B. (2002). Singing in the Saddle: The History of the Singing Cowboy. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. ISBN 978-0826514127.
  • Magers, Boyd (2007). Gene Autry Westerns. Madison, NC: Empire Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0944019498.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 October 2021, at 19:42
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