Lone Pine Film Festival was TRAIL OF THE VIGILANTES (1940), starring Franchot Tone.
Franchot Tone in a Western?! Yes, and he's absolutely delightful.
The movie plays somewhat like a precursor of the James Garner comedy classic SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERIFF! (1969), with Tone starring as a cagey Eastern marshal. Sometimes he's able to outwit his enemies, who are surprised by his audacity, and when in turn they sometimes get the best of him, he goes along with it with laconic humor.
Tim Mason (Tone), aka "Kansas," is sent to a wild and woolly Western town after the murder of a newspaperman. Working undercover, Kansas is hired by rancher John Thornton (Charles Trowbridge) -- whose young daughter Barbara (Peggy Moran) immediately likes what she sees and is determined to land her man, not taking no for an answer.
Kansas learns that local ranchers who aren't paying the local "Cattleman's Association" are having their cattle stolen; in reality, the association is a shakedown racket run by Dawson (Warren William, always a wonderful bad guy).
Kansas realizes that Dawson and his men plan to make off with the Cattleman's Association funds and takes the box first, then is arrested for theft. Will Kansas be able to make the case against Dawson?
Kansas initially battles and is tormented by Swanee (Broderick Crawford) and Meadows (Andy Devine), but they end up being his pals, along with the crazy Bolo (Mischa Auer).
Peggy Moran also adds to the humor, with her "never say die" pursuit of Kansas. Moran, born October 23, 1918, retired from the screen in 1943, after marrying director Henry Koster, a happy union which lasted until Koster's death in 1988. Moran herself passed on following a 2002 car accident.
This movie is a great deal of fun, and I'm surprised it isn't better known today. (The fact that it's a hard-to-see Universal Pictures film may account for some of that.) According to IMDb, director Allan Dwan was responsible for having the original screenplay rewritten as a Western spoof. The film was written by Harold Shumate.
In addition to having a sense of humor, the film also has some nice action, including good "classic Hollywood" stunt work as Crawford chases William across the town rooftops in one of the final scenes.
The supporting cast includes Samuel S. Hinds, George Chandler, Ray Teal, Porter Hall, and Paul Fix.
The movie was shot by Milton Krasner and Joseph Valentine.
TRAIL OF THE VIGILANTES is is not available on DVD, and it should be. At the present moment it's available on YouTube, but it could disappear at any time. I was fortunate to see it in Lone Pine, where some of the exteriors were filmed.