Elvis Presley played a Native American for the second time in his career in the musical comedy Stay Away, Joe, based on a best-selling book by Dan Cushman. This time, however, instead of being a relevant commentary on prejudice – as was the superior Flaming Star – the film stereotypes American Indians as shiftless and irresponsible.
Elvis stars as rodeo rider Joe Lightcloud, a Navajo whose family still lives on the reservation. Joe persuades his congressman to give him 20 heifers and a prize bull so he and his father, played by Burgess Meredith, can prove that the Navajos can successfully raise cattle on the reservation. If their experiment is successful, then the government will help all the Navajo people. But Joe’s buddy accidentally barbecues the prize bull, while Joe sells the heifers to buy plumbing and other home improvements for his stepmother, portrayed by Katy Jurado. Former leading lady Joan Blondell appears as tavern owner Glenda Callahan, whose daughter, played by Quentin Dean, can’t seem to stay away from the girl-chasing Joe.