Originally slated for release through Paramount Pictures but ultimately distributed by United Artists, American Empire is a western "special" from Hopalong Cassidy producer Harry "Pop" Sherman. Set during the Reconstruction period, the film stars Richard Dix and Preston S. Foster as Dan Taylor and Paxton Bryce, two longtime friends seeking their fortune in postwar Texas. With the considerable assistance of Dan's sister and Paxton's wife Abby (Frances Gifford), the two comrades establish a thriving cattle business. Alas, Paxton is seized with the ambition to become a emperor in his own domain, thereby alienating himself from Dan and Abby. Only through a profound personal tragedy does Paxton come back to his senses. Ironically, critics in 1942 suggested that the Mexican accent adopted by supporting player Leo Carrillo was more than a little reminiscent of "The Cisco Kid" -- and this was still several years before Carrillo was established as Pancho in the "Cisco" "B"-film and TV series!