"This amateur film chronicles several young ranchers in their day-to-day activities. The film is divided into six chapters, each highlighting a different theme. Setting the scene with shots of a river bend and surrounding cliffs, the movie shows two young men skipping stones by a creek. After playing around with rocks and a rope swing, they drive back to 141 Ranch. At the ranch, they take care of their cattle and spend quality time grooming and riding their horses. The last chapter introduces a strange boy, who startles one of the ranchers as he washes a frying pan outside. The film ends with the young men riding their horses towards the camera" Texas Archive of the Moving Image.
"Produced by Edwin S. Mayer, this 1929 amateur film documents life and work on the T-Half Circle Ranch near Sonora. Ranch hands first herd cattle for branding and de-horning. Then, they turn to working the sheep, sorting them into separate classes before shearing wool. Later, the ranch hands battle a prairie fire on the property. In addition to outlining ranch operations, Mayer also introduces his family and colleagues. At the conclusion, Edwin and his wife Minnie join another couple to explore Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico. The cave is now the primary attraction of Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Please note, this film contains a racist joke regarding African Americans. The Texas Archive of the Moving Image does not condone this language, but presents the film as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as to claim this discrimination never existed" Texas Archive of the Moving Image.
"Seventeen hundred feet of 16mm. color is a lot of footage through which to sustain audience interest. But, so help us, that is exactly what Lester F. Shaal has done in Colorado Diary, and we don't quite understand yet just how he did it. Perhaps it was the diary-entry continuity device he used, which, with the entries being made in situ on a Colorado dude ranch, permitted a refreshing infusion of flash-back sequences amid the day-to-day activities. ("The flight out here was glorious," notes the attractive diarist, and some superb air footage lends variety to the routines of the corral.) Perhaps it was the side trips from the ranch to ghost mining towns — or to Durango and the narrow-gauge railway country. Whatever the secret, Mr. Shaal has mixed it well with his usually impeccable camera work. Seldom have the vitality and majesty of the West been portrayed more movingly than in Colorado Diary." Movie Makers, Dec. 1951, 410.
"Two Dudes In Montana, by Lester F. Shaal, is an engaging and altogether competent record of a dude ranch vacation. In it, two attractive Eastern youngsters are seen adapting themselves with enthusiasm to the strange and stimulating adventures of Western ranch life. Developing his theme deliberately and in carefully integrated continuity, Mr. Shaal shows his tenderfeet taking to the saddle for safaris which progress from an afternoon's outing to full scale pack trips into the high mountains. The producer brings to this subject matter a fine technical skill with movie tools which has long been his. New and rewarding in his present work is an evolving eye for the appeal of human interest." Movie Makers, Dec. 1948, 496.
"Riders of the Pecos is a movie of a "dude ranch" with all the close shots of interesting and significant details that usually are missing in "dude ranch" films. During a summer vacation, few take the time and effort to make as human and colorful a document as has E. M. Barnard. He has caught the dust of the corral, the appetites of the open and even the barn dance. It is a horsy film, of course, with sequences of roping, "bronco busting" and plain and fancy riding. But best of all are the charming shots of a horseback trip and the campfire at the trail's end. There is a neatly turned "running gag" of a young equestrienne who is first seen repeatedly as more concerned with her brightly polished boots than with riding. But, after a few suppers off the mantel, she adds more dust and scars to her boots than got there naturally and becomes a real cowgirl." Movie Makers, Dec. 1941, 567.