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The Gene Autry Show

The Steel Ribbon

Flying A Pictures
Season 3, Episode 11 (3-11)
Production #78
Network: CBS
Running Time: 30 minutes
Black and White

Original Air Date:
Tuesday, September 22, 1953

Sponsor: Wrigley's Doublemint Chewing Gum

Brief Synopsis:

Assigned to put an end to a series of railroad robberies, Gene and Pat are confronted by an unscrupulous telegraph operator.

Detailed Synopsis:

Railroad investigators Gene Autry and Pat Buttram are assigned to put an end to a series of destructive train robberies. While riding through the desert, they see two masked men sabotage the approaching payroll train by putting wooden beams across the tracks. Pat pursues them while Gene unblocks the path, earning the gratitude of the engineer, who gives both him and Champion a ride to town on the train. Gene visits telegraph operator Dan Parker who says he suspects brother and sister Billie and Jeff Carter, owners of the Carter Transport Company. The siblings will gain the transport contract if the railroad fails. Pat, meanwhile, loses the outlaws when they hide in an empty boxcar. He and Gene ride out to see the Carters and are treated coldly by them and their foreman, Blake Jessop. However, their water tower needs to be repaired and a beam falls, almost landing on Billie, but Gene saves her just in time. She and her brother are so appreciative that they decide to cooperate with Gene and Pat. Parker is the real culprit behind the robberies and visits his two henchmen, Lait and Cole, at the boxcar. They decide to continue the robberies and make the Carters appear even guiltier by staging a payroll robbery from the station's safe, allowing Parker to make himself look like the victim. Pat shows Gene where he lost the robbers, and Gene figures out they hid in the boxcar and notices that the seal used to lock it up is one only issued to authorized railroad men. Meanwhile, Billie heads to the railroad station and discovers Parker bound and gagged. Once free, he hands her a telegram and she heads home. Parker soon realizes the telegram is dated from the time he was supposed to be tied up and will prove he is behind everything. He sends Lait and Cole after Billie. The henchmen only manage to get half of the telegram, but shoot Jessop, who is making repairs high up on the water tower. Gene and Pat see Billie being pursued and drive off the two henchmen. Gene then stages a daring rescue of the wounded Jessop, climbing up and down the water tower ladder. Billie shows Gene the torn telegram, and he figures out the entire scheme. A confrontation between Gene, Pat, and Parker results in a spectacular fight where Pat saves Gene using his slide whistle to warn him about the approach of Lait and Cole. Gene then rounds up the heavies and earns the eternal gratitude of the Carters and Jessop.


Character: Performer:
Gene Autry Gene Autry
Pat Buttram Pat Buttram
Billie Carter Gail Davis
Blake Jessop Robert Lowery
Lait Terry Frost
Jeff Carter Dick Emory
Dan Parker John Hamilton
Cole Rusty Wescoatt
Engineer Tom London
Mine Employee Bob Woodward
Champion Champion, World's
Wonder Horse


Gallivantin' Galveston Gal Gene Autry and Pat Buttram (playing slide whistle)


Executive in charge
of Production
Armand Schaefer
Directed by William Berke
Producer Louis Gray
Screenplay Robert Schaefer & Eric Freiwald
Director of Photography William Bradford, A.S.C.
Film Editor Anthony Wollner
Musical Director Carl Cotner
Music Supervisor Irving Friedman
Musical Score Walter Greene
Assistant Director Stanley Neufeld
Recorded by Glen Glenn Sound Company

Watch a Clip from The Steel Ribbon: