Tom initially turns the job down, until he witnesses a robbery of an incriminating letter left behind by the previous sheriff, who was brutally murdered.
Determined to find and punish the sheriff’s killer, Tom takes the badge and, inspired by Katie Brannigan (Nancy Olson), the dead sheriff’s sassy, sharp-shooting daughter, gradually transforms from a namby-pamby law student into a brainy, brawny lawman to be reckoned with.
Surrounded by a supporting cast of pros – ranging from the slickly sinister Caruso and the spitfire Olson to Lon Cheney Jr. as the town’s rabble-rousing drunk and Wallace Ford as Turlock’s shopkeeping lackey – Rogers turned in a solid if understated performance. Clearly, he lacked the charisma of his famous father, but he had enough of his dad’s aw-shucks modesty and wry humor to make Tom a most unlikely yet likable Western hero (note that a few years later the character became a model for TV’s “Sugarfoot,” about a timid Easterner who comes to Oklahoma Territory to practice the law).
“The Boy From Oklahoma” comes without any DVD bonus extras, but Sooners who’ve followed the ups and downs of Will Junior’s eventful but finally tragic life it’ll be a pleasure to see him roping and riding like a born cowboy in this solid Western.
- Dennis King