The Cheyenne Social Club, Out of the blue, the grizzled farm hand, John O’Hanlan, receives an unexpected letter from an unknown solicitor in the far off town of Cheyenne, Wyoming, informing him that he is the proud owner of the Cheyenne Social Club, now that his estranged brother, D.J., has passed away. Eager to trade in the dusty landscapes of 1867 Texas for an easy life as a businessman–and at the same time intrigued–John sets out on a long trip along with his best friend, Harley Sullivan, to create a better future for himself. Somehow, John’s newest and only acquisition has both a good and a bad reputation; either way, the establishment’s inexperienced manager now holds the fates of its loyal staff in his hands: a beautiful sextet of dedicated, and above all, popular female employees. However, is John cut out for business?
A Fun Classic
The Cheyenne Social Club, Next to “El Dorado”, this is my favorite western. It is fun from start to finish. Best friends in real life play best friends on the Texas panhandle. Jimmy Stewart (John) and Henry Ford (Harley) have been “riding together” for 10 years when John receives a letter from a lawyer in Cheyenne.
With John and Harley being drifters, it has taken the letter two years to catch up to them. John is told his older brother DJ has died and left him a thriving business in Wyoming; The Cheyenne Social Club. Always wanting to be a “Man of Property”, John packs up and heads to Cheyenne with Harley in tow (even though neither man knows exactly why Harley feels the need to tag along everywhere John goes).
Both John and Harley are salt-of-the-earth people. Harley has a passion for pecans and John cannot wait to claim his inheritance and become a Republican. The wagon wheel comes off when John realizes the Cheyenne Social Club is actually an high end, upscale brothel. The ladies who live in the equisitly furnished house are the cream of the crop, expecting nothing but the best from themselves and their clientelle. When John pops into the picture, the ladies fancy him a hero although John has plans to turn the house into a legitimate business.
The casting and directing of this film is perfectly done. Shirley Jones is the Madam of the house and all the ladies cast give prostitutes a fine name. Gene Kelly (yes that Gene Kelly) directs this enjoyably light fare with a smooth touch.