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Alternate Title: Rustlers Range
Director: Stuart Gilmore (Dir)
Release Date:   Oct 1951
Production Date:   began mid-Jan 1951
Duration (in mins):   60
Duration (in feet):   5,416
Duration (in reels):   6
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Cast:   Tim Holt (Tim Holt)  
    Joan Dixon (Gail Martin)  
    Ross Elliott (Dave Collins)  
    John Dehner (Turk Thorne)  
    Robert Wilke (Stoney Dawson)  
    Paul Marion (Dakota)  
    Lee MacGregor (Bob Jackson)  
    Kenneth MacDonald (Sheriff Lacey)  
  and Richard Martin (Chito Rafferty)  
    Stanley Andrews (Warden Lewis)  
    Paul E. Burns (Duke, telegraph operator)  
    Bill Lewin (Railroad clerk)  
    Stanley Blystone (Fowler)  
    Patricia Michon (Rosita)  

Summary: While waiting to pick up some furniture for his boss, Gail Martin, at the Trail Head, Arizona train depot, ranchhand Bob Jackson interrupts masked outlaws Stoney Dawson, Dakota and Fowler as they attempt to rob the incoming train. Bob is shot just as fellow hands Tim Holt and Chito Rafferty arrive to help, and a gunfight ensues. The outlaws flee unharmed, but Bob dies. Later, at their hideout, the outlaws report to boss Turk Thorne that the train safe was not filled with gold, as they had expected. Determined to steal some of the gold that periodically passes through Trail Head, Turk decides to enlist Dave Collins, a telegraph operator who once helped them on a robbery, to act as their "inside man" at the telegraph office. Aware that Dave is about to be paroled from prison, Turk writes a letter to the warden, claiming to be a rancher interested in offering Dave a job. The now-reformed Dave, who has written to his mother that he is a ranch owner, accepts the offer and leaves for Trail Head. Just outside town, however, Dakota and Stoney stop Dave's stagecoach and force him out at gunpoint. When Dave refuses to cooperate with the outlaws, they knock him out and start to carry him away. At that moment, Tim and Chito happen by and fire shots at the outlaws, who drop Dave and escape. After Tim finds a bandanna at the scene that he recognizes from the train holdup, he and Chito take Dave to Gail's Circle Bar ranch. There, Tim questions Dave, but Dave claims to know nothing about his attackers and states that he is an Easterner looking for work. Foreman Tim hires Dave, then reveals to Gail his suspicions that Dave is somehow involved in Bob's murder. Later, Dakota and Stoney see Tim and Chito in town and follow them to the Circle Bar, where they also spot Dave. The outlaws then spy on Dave as he reads a letter from his mother while tending to Gail's cattle herd. When Dave, upset by the letter, suddenly rides off, Dakota and Stoney stampede the herd, hoping to cause his dismissal. Tim and Chito arrive in time to stop the stampede and apprehend Dakota, whom they then deliver to the Trail Head jail. At the telegraph office, meanwhile, Turk kills Duke, the elderly operator, and sneaks off just before Dave shows up to send a telegram to his mother, asking her to postpone a proposed visit. Dave, who was seen by Sheriff Lacey, finds Duke dead and rides off just as Chito and Tim show up, looking for the sheriff. At the Circle Bar, Dave is saying goodbye to the smitten Gail when Tim and Chito return from town and accuse him of Duke's murder. Dave finally admits all but insists he did not kill Duke. Not completely convinced, Tim gives Dave a chance to prove his innocence by helping him to trap Turk. Tim then persuades the sheriff to hire Dave to work in the telegraph office and arranges for Dave to slip the incarcerated Dakota a blank-filled gun. After Dakota "shoots" the sheriff and escapes, he delivers a message from Dave to Turk, announcing a gold shipment the next day. Suspecting a trap, Turk, Dakota and Stoney find Dave romancing Gail in her buckboard and take them both prisoner. The next morning, Chito and Tim discover that Dave and Gail are missing and go to town in search of them. Sure that Dave has double-crossed them, the sheriff calls off the trap and tries to arrest Tim and Chito. Tim pulls his gun, however, and he and Chito flee. As the sheriff gives chase, he is spotted by Stoney, who reports to Turk that Dakota could not have shot the lawman. Though exposed, Dave insists that the gold shipment is indeed coming and is forced to accompany Turk and Stoney to the train depot, while Dakota guards Gail. Tim and Chito, meanwhile, elude the sheriff and track Gail's buckboard marks to the outlaws' hideout. After taking Dakota by surprise, Tim and Chito free Gail, then race to town to save Dave. They arrive just as Dave is opening the train safe for Turk, and after a brief fight, the outlaws are apprehended. Later, the now-exonerated Dave looks forward to a visit from his mother, as Gail has proposed he become the Circle Bar's owner by marriage. 

Production Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Distribution Company: RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Stuart Gilmore (Dir)
  Albert Spurlin (Asst dir)
Producer: Herman Schlom (Prod)
Writer: William Lively (Wrt)
Photography: Nicholas Musuraca (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Albert S. D'Agostino (Art dir)
  Feild Gray (Art dir)
Film Editor: Robert Golden (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Darrell Silvera (Set dec)
  John Sturtevant (Set dec)
Music: Paul Sawtell (Mus)
  C. Bakaleinikoff (Mus dir)
Sound: John Cass (Sd)
  Clem Portman (Sd)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. 10/8/1951 dd/mm/yyyy LP1162

PCA NO: 15093
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound System
  b&w:

 
Genre: Western
 
Subjects (Major): Ex-convicts
  Outlaws
  Ranchhands
  Telegraphers
  Train robberies
 
Subjects (Minor): Arizona
  Cattle
  Gunfights
  Hideouts
  Jailbreaks
  Letters
  Mexican Americans
  Murder
  Rescues
  Romance
  Stampedes
  Traps
  Women ranchers

Note: The working title of this film was Rustlers Range

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   27 Oct 1951.   
Daily Variety   18 Oct 51   p. 3.
Film Daily   30 Oct 51   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Jan 51   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   26 Jan 51   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Feb 51   p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Oct 51   p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   27 Oct 51   p. 1075.
Variety   24 Oct 51   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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