Follow Me Boys starring Fred MacMurray as Scoutmaster Lem Siddons is the best inspirational Scouting movie ever made. If you are involved in Scouting, this is a “must see” movie. If you are burning out as a leader and watch this movie, chances are that you will suddenly find yourself motivated and enthused all over again. Its one of those movies that grabs your heartstrings and makes you laugh, cry, and cheer.
Based on the book God and My Country by MacKinlay Kantor, this movie is a delightful trip down memory lane for Scouters and parents and an inspiring story for everyone. Spanning decades, this is a wonderful story of a Scoutmaster and his Scouts.
As the movie opens, Lem Siddons is a traveling musician who steps off the bus in a small town. He falls in love at first sight with Vida Downey played by Vera Miles and decides to stay, taking a job at the local general store. Before long Lem has become the local Scoutmaster.
There is a memorable scene of the Troop hiking past the town drunk’s house where a boy named Whitey (Kurt Russell) jeers the Scouts. Lem invites Whitey to join the Troop. Later Whitey steals a Scout handbook from Lem’s store to read it in secret and find out about Scouting and eventually joins the Troop.
There are wonderfully funny moments when the Scouts find their campout site is in the middle of an Army war game and they end up capturing a tank. And there are sad moments like the scene where Whitey’s dad has passed away and he’s become an orphan. Your heart soars when Lem and Vida adopt Whitey as their own son.
Lem helps build the first Scout Camp for the Troop and later must fight in court to keep the property when a greedy relative of the wonderful lady that donated the land tries to have the Court find her incompetent to manage her affairs and take the land. The court drama in some ways is a trial of Scouting. The picture below is from the Troop’s camp with Lem and Frankie, the Senior Patrol Leader, saluting at flag raising.
Click on above image to see a slide show of images from the movie!
Through his adult life Lem runs the Scout Troop as its Scoutmaster and you’ll just about want to cry when his son Whitey back from the war as an Army doctor has to tell him that its time to step down. But just as soon as your eyes tear, there is a wonderful ending with a grand parade through the town by all the Scouts that have ever been in the Troop including the state’s governor.