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The Beast of Hollow Mountain

The Beast of Hollow Mountain(1956)


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American Jimmy Ryan, who owns a ranch in Northern Mexico, has been plagued by missing cattle. While riding with his friend and partner, Felipe Sánchez, the men find the carcass of a cow stuck in quicksand in a swamp next to Hollow Mountain. Felipe assumes that rival ranch owner Enrique Ríos is responsible and dismisses the fears of one of their men, who thinks the beast purported by local legend to reside within the mountain is responsible. When Jimmy rides into town, he saves drunken ranchhand Pancho by stopping his runaway horse. Pancho and his devoted seven-year-old son Panchito are grateful to Jimmy, as is Sarita, the daughter of Pancho's employer, neighboring rancher Don Pedro. Later, at Don Pedro's ranch, just as Jimmy is relating the story of the missing cattle, Enrique arrives, angrily accuses Jimmy of underselling his cattle and warns him to return to Texas. Next morning, Jimmy awakens to find all his ranchhands have fled out of fear of the beast, but Pancho and Panchito have come to replace them. Certain that Jimmy needs them, Pancho promises not to drink anymore, and Panchito insists that he will be responsible for his father. Later, Sarita accuses Jimmy of luring Pancho away, but when Pancho confirms that he willingly came to help Jimmy, she rides toward the ranch to apologize. While they are talking, Sarita's horse disappears, so the pair must ride into town together on Jimmy's horse. Although Sarita and Jimmy are attracted to each other, she is engaged to marry Enrique, who has helped her father. When Enrique sees her dismounting Jimmy's horse, he becomes enraged and starts a fistfight. After besting Enrique, Jimmy reads a telegram he has just received informing him that the U.S. government has agreed to the price he is asking for his cattle. Later, Don Pedro suggests to Jimmy that Enrique would gladly buy his ranch and cattle for a fair price, but Jimmy declines the offer. One day, while riding near the swamp, Pancho, Jimmy and Felipe find an abandoned shack. Although Pancho thinks the shack's owner drowned in the swamp, the local townsmen are sure that the beast has taken him. Pancho wants to search the swamp to confirm his suspicions, but Jimmy tells him it is too dangerous. Back in town, Jimmy tries to buy supplies and finds that the merchant will not extend his credit. He also learns that Enrique has pressured the banker into not lending him money against the cattle sale. Meanwhile, Felipe hires two ranchhands, unaware that they are secretly working for Enrique. That same afternoon, Jimmy receives a note from Sarita. When he meets her, she tells him to be careful of Enrique and urges him to leave for his own sake. Meanwhile, Pancho, who remains convinced that there is a path through the swamp that has enabled Enrique's men to rustle Jimmy's cattle, rides with Panchito to the abandoned cabin. Pancho tells his son to wait there, but when Pancho does not return, Panchito becomes frightened and rides back to the ranch. The tearful boy returns just as Jimmy tells Felipe that he is planning to sell the ranch. After Panchito relates what happened, the two men ride to the swamp. When they find Pancho's hat, they assume that he was swallowed up by the quicksand, but decide not to tell Panchito that his beloved father is dead. Certain that the boy will be better off with Sarita, Jimmy takes him back to the ranch and warns Don Pedro and Sarita that Panchito is obsessed with returning to the swamp to find his father. As Jimmy says goodbye to Sarita, he tells her that he can never see her again or he would never let her go. Some time later, on the morning of his wedding to Sarita, Enrique tells his men to stampede Jimmy's cattle on the way to the train station so that no one will be hurt in town. As the festival begins, Sarita dresses in her wedding clothes, even though she is in love with Jimmy. Don Pedro sees that she is troubled, but she pretends to be happy. Later, when Sarita's maid Margarita sees Panchito moping, she becomes annoyed and tells him that Pancho is dead. Hurt and unbelieving, Panchito grabs a horse and rides away. Margarita rushes to tell Sarita, who has changed out of her wedding dress, and orders her horse saddled. Meanwhile, on Jimmy's ranch, the beast grabs a cow, terrifying the ranchhands and causing the herd to stampede. As the herd rushes through the town, Jimmy sees Margarita, who tells him that Sarita has gone after Panchito. Don Pedro is standing near Enrique when one of the hands yells at Enrique, saying he told him it was too dangerous to try a stampede. Don Pedro now chastises Enrique for interfering with Jimmy's cattle. Meanwhile, Sarita arrives at the abandoned cabin and calls for Panchito, who runs to her when he encounters the beast in the swamp. As they try to take shelter in the cabin, Jimmy rides up and distracts the beast by firing at it, thus enabling Sarita and Panchito to leave the cabin and ride away. Just then, Enrique arrives and starts to shoot at Jimmy, but falls when his horse is frightened by the beast. As Enrique desperately runs through the swamp to avoid the charging beast, Jimmy rides to Enrique and hoists him onto his own horse. The men ride until the horse falls down a slope, after which Jimmy and Enrique escape the beast by squeezing into a narrow cave in the mountain. As the beast tries to grab the men with his outstretched arm, Sarita, Felipe, Don Pedro and several ranchhands arrive. Their gunshots drive the beast away, but not before it reaches Enrique, drags him from the cave and drops him to his death. With the beast away from the entrance to the cave, Jimmy is able to escape. After grabbing some rope, Jimmy wades through the swamp and swings a lasso over a tall branch. When the rope is secured, Jimmy climbs up and swings back and forth, enticing the beast to reach for him. The angered beast reaches too far and drifts into the swamp, where it is swallowed up by the quicksand. With the beast now dead, Panchito and Sarita warmly embrace Jimmy.