Film Review of Susannah of The Mounties: Shirley Temple and Randolph Scott in Drama of Canadian West

by DerdriuMarriner

The 1939 film version of "Susannah of the Mounties" concerns a handsome Mountie and his friendships with a flirtatious VIP, a generous survivor, and an honorable Blackfoot chief.

Natives dislike how railroads shrink Canada’s western frontier.

One of their raids leaves a little girl an orphan.

Will she aid or obstruct peace when she becomes the Northwest Mounted Police post’s beloved ward in “Susannah of the Mounties”?

"Susannah of the Mounties" was the second of three Shirley Temple films directed successively by director Walter Lang (August 10, 1896 – February 7, 1972):

• "The Little Princess" in 1939,

• "Susannah of the Mounties" in 1939, and

• "The Blue Bird" in 1940.

two months before June 1939 release of "Susannah of the Mounties": Shirley Temple at Bel Air Country Club to celebrate her 11th birthday party.

photo by Peter Stackpole (June 15, 1913 - May 11, 1997)
photo by Peter Stackpole (June 15, 1913 - May 11, 1997)


A loving heart cannot stay broken in Susannah of the Mounties by writers Robert Ellis and Helen Logan; producer Kenneth Macgowan; and directors Walter Lang and William A. Seiter. Arthur C. Miller, Robert Bischoff, and Louis Silvers handle cinematography, editing, and music. Filming showcases California’s Movietone City.

The 79-minute film adapts Jessie Muriel Goggin Denison’s (1886 - 1954) 1936-published novel. Its distributor was 20th Century-Fox. Its USA-release date was June 23, 1939.

The movie begins with Blackfeet opposing Canadian Pacific Railway building from Red River to the western foothills, 1882-1884. Northwest mounted police follow an arrow-pierced settler’s hat and smoke. They retrieve Susannah Sheldon (Shirley Temple) -- traumatized by witnessing her grandfather’s massacre -- from under a wagon train barrel.

Patrol commander/Inspector Angus Montague (Randolph Scott) assures Susannah that courage ends fear. Monty gives Susannah Patrick O’Hannegan’s (J. Farrell MacDonald) bedroom. Pat sleeps on the couch.

Susannah helps brush Monty’s uniform for reporting to Superintendent Andrew Standing (Moroni Olsen). Monty meets Andrew’s daughter Vicky (Margaret Lockwood), recently arrived from Toronto two days previously. Harlan Chambers (Lester Matthews) offers competition for Vicky’s affections.

Blackfeet injure 4 men and steal 20 horses from Harlan’s Iron Horse railroad camp. A powwow is held. Chief Big Eagle (Maurice Moscovitch) leaves son Little Chief (Martin Good Rider) as hostage to finding the renegades within 5 days. He lets Little Chief have a teepee and Susannah a pony. Little Chief offers Susannah the peace pipe over not:

  • Calling her papoose;

  • Pushing;

  • Walking in front.

Susannah cleans Monty’s boots with Pat’s toupee. She had dancing lessons from her fiddler grandfather. She has Monty put a book on his head. She instructs Monty while singing “I’ll Teach You to Waltz”. Vicky’s Wednesday evening dance is interrupted by:

  • Little Chief and Susannah dancing and whooping around a fire;

  • Big Chief delivering 4 stabbed-to-death renegades.

Little Chief and Susannah go riding before becoming blood siblings. They hear Wolf Pelt (Victor Jory) selling Bully Boy, Lady Jane, and Steamboat. Harlan recognizes the horses as his own. He threatens Wolf Pelt.

Wolf Pelt incites Blackfeet to war. He leads raids to:

  • Attack railroad camps;

  • Burn railroads;

  • Burn and invade the post;

  • Retrieve Little Chief;

  • Take Monty prisoner.

Big Eagle releases Inspector Randall (Leyland Hodgson). But Monty will die if railroad-building continues.

Susannah accesses the camp. Warriors confine her in Monty’s prison teepee. She escapes as Blackfeet begin burning Monty at the stake.

The movie ends with:

  • Big Eagle’s lance of truth/untruth falling against Wolf Pelt;

  • Big Eagle having Wolf Pelt taken away;

  • Little Chief, Monty and Susannah smoking Big Eagle’s peace pipe.


Professional rapport between Randolph Scott and Shirley Temple was displayed in two movies:

in 1938 in "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" and again in 1939 in "Susannah of the Mounties"
Randolph Scott and Shirley Temple
Randolph Scott and Shirley Temple



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


scene in which Shirley Temple's character teaches Mountie (Randolph Scott) how to waltz

Shirley Temple - One, Two, Three ~ Uploaded to YouTube on April 15, 2009 by sarahluvsshirley ~ URL:
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning


Features both remastered B&W and colorized versions of the film
Susannah of the Mounties

SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES, Shirley Temple, 1939.

SUSANNAH OF THE MOUNTIES, Shirley Temple, 1939.

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/15/2014, DerdriuMarriner
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


DerdriuMarriner on 03/07/2014

VioletteRose, Me, too, I agree: she is cute! The scene where she teaches Randolph Scott to waltz is simply adorable.

VioletteRose on 03/06/2014

Beautiful pictures, she's so cute!

DerdriuMarriner on 02/19/2014

Yes, it's fun to see Shirley Temple growing up via her movies.
It can be difficult, indeed, to decide which of her films to view. :-)

Mira on 02/19/2014

So amazing to see her at all these different ages! I cannot decide which movie to watch first ;-)

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