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The Fighting Lawman

The Fighting Lawman(1953)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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In 1886, four robbers escape with money from the Bank of Flagstaff in Arizona. U.S. Deputy Marshal Jim Burke follows them with a posse and captures Manuel Jackson when his horse goes lame. Sentenced to five years in a federal penitentiary, Jackson refuses to name his cohorts. Three years later, Jackson escapes from prison and Jim once again hunts him down. They engage in a shoot-out, but when Jim offers to allow Jackson to surrender peacefully, Jackson refuses. Jim shoots Jackson and, before he dies, Jackson secures Jim's promise that in exchange for the names of the other robbers, Jim is to protect his sister Raquel by keeping his death a secret from his greedy cohorts. Jim then heads to Prescott based on Jackson's information and, once there, introduces himself to the local sheriff, Dave Fulton. Dave presides over a peaceful town and is unaware of any men named Sam Logan, Jack Harvey or Al Deakins but agrees to cooperate with Jim's undercover operation. Jim poses as a cattleman and visits Raquel, who sells pottery for some income. When Raquel is joined by her boyfriend, Al Deakins, using the alias Al Clark, Jim claims to be buying dishware for a friend's restaurant. He returns later when she is alone and reveals his true identity and that he is after the outlaws. Raquel is distraught that her brother's killer is now her protector, but agrees to maintain the pretense that her brother is alive and promises to help in her own way. Later in town, Sam Logan, a saloon owner using the name Lem Slade, gives Jim a friendly drink, but in his office, orders his right-hand man Webb to follow him. Jim realizes he is being watched and entraps Webb, who fights back. Meanwhile, Raquel visits Logan and threatens to have her brother reveal their identities if Logan does not pay her five thousand dollars. Logan reluctantly agrees but puts her off for a day. When Webb returns, Logan fires him for botching the surveillance. Webb has overheard Logan's conversation with Raquel and now goes to tell the sheriff, but is shot in the back by Deakins and Harvey. Dave and Jim hear the gunshot but fail to capture the killers. Although Dave and Jim recognize Webb, neither know for whom he worked. Logan, unaware that Jackson is dead, hopes to silence Raquel by plotting her brother's death with Deakins and Harvey. After Deakins reveals the plan to Raquel, she tells him the truth about Jim and Jackson. Raquel and Deakins, who is hiding his relationship with Raquel from his partners, then decide to eliminate Logan and Harvey. They first attempt to kill Jim, and when that fails, Deakins successfully shoots Harvey at his ranch. Jim finds Harvey before he dies, and the outlaw reveals the aliases of the other two men. After Deakins and Raquel rob Logan's safe in the saloon, Dave and Jim chase them, but Raquel gains enough of a lead to hide while Deakins loses his life in a gunfight with the lawmen. Raquel is later surprised to be held at gunpoint in her house by Logan, whose anger is deepened because she has rejected his romantic advances. Raquel initially lies that Deakins forced her to steal the money, but eventually relents and tells the truth. Knowing that Logan has learned of Jackson's death, Dave and Jim ride to Raquel's house. While Logan is distracted by the lawmen, Raquel sneaks out with the money. Logan then wounds Dave in the thigh with a bullet and shoots Raquel in the back as she rides away. While Jim wrestles Logan for the gun, the weapon fires and kills Logan. After Jim and Dave find the money next to Raquel's body, they realize she had fooled both of them. Later, Jim notes that the bank got its money back and assumes that Jackson and Raquel have been reunited.