I found the book and the second chapter is titled "Leo the Lion". You are 100% correct. It is a story about the "areoplane" crashing in a canyon near Payson.
Frank V. Gillette, "Pleasant Valley", 1984, pg. 9
"I got caught in a box canyon," he said. "Did you see an aeroplane come over here the other day? I crash-landed somewhere up the canyon. I've been walking for days. I have to get to a tellephone. There's a lion on my plane."
The MGM lion, Leo, crashed in Pleasant Valley!
Anyway, Vern and Frank Gillette were along for Leo's rescue with Sam and Boy Haught!
That is the most likely, but I hope that it was ordered by someone in the valley. I am not sure there were many hardware stores in the area at the time. The research from Colt is going to answer many question. I hope it doesn't raise too many more!