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The Black Dakotas

The Black Dakotas(1954)

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Regularly $20.95
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During the Civil War, John Lawrence, a Southern sympathizer, and his men hold up a stagecoach carrying Brock Marsh, who is posing as a businessman but is actually another sympathizer, and Zachary Paige, who is conveying documents signed by President Lincoln that promise a peace offering to the Sioux tribe. Lawrence has concocted a scheme to steal government gold earmarked for the Sioux and send it to Jefferson Davis' treasury. To pull off the plot, Marsh plans to pose as Paige so that they can more easily steal the gold when it arrives. Lawrence intends to keep the real Paige in hiding until the heist has been performed, but Marsh unexpectedly pulls out a gun and shoots him, much to Lawrence's surprise and indignation. When Marsh, now posing as Paige, rides into town, he reports that the coach was attacked by Indians, and the crowd, led by loudmouth Grimes, uses the raid as an example of how the government is neglecting the frontiers in favor of the Southern war. Meanwhile, Lawrence, who has been caught negotiating with another Indian tribe on behalf of the Southern rebels, is brought in as a traitor. At his quick trial, Lawrence admits that he is not from Boston, as everyone thought, but is a Virginian. As he is about to be hanged from a makeshift gallows, his daughter Ruth arrives and is horrified at the scene. "Gimpy" Joe Woods, another of Lawrence's men, whispers to Marsh that, as a government man, he could stop the hanging. Nevertheless, Lawrence is hanged, and Mike Daugherty, Ruth's sweetheart, who speaks the Sioux language and is friends with their chief, War Cloud, takes Ruth to the jailhouse for safety. When Grimes's angry mob shows up to run Ruth out of town, Mike fights Grimes and takes Ruth back to her ranch. Gimpy goes to Marsh's hotel to offer his help, and Marsh accepts the offer but insists that he is now the boss. Mike then arrives at the hotel to take Marsh to see War Cloud and explains that the old chief's authority is being challenged by a younger, white-hating leader named Black Buffalo. While riding through Sioux territory, the pair is attacked by Black Buffalo's renegades and Marsh is captured. A messenger arrives and reports that in the skirmish, Mike killed Black Buffalo's brother and that Marsh will have to die. Mike negotiates Marsh's release, however, and Marsh makes a speech promising that there will be no more white aggression against the Indians. Back in town, Paige's body is brought in, and as Marshal Whit Collins and Judge Horatio Baker examine the body, they discover the name "Zachary Paige" monogrammed on the coat. Just as they are about to accuse Marsh, Gimpy, who has been watching from the window, shoots them both dead. When Mike, Grimes and the mob arrive, Grimes insists that Ruth is responsible for the murders, and Mike rides out to warn Ruth. The Southern rebels also ride to the ranch, knock Mike out, and take the couple to their hiding place, a nearby cave. Gimpy and Marsh then go to see War Cloud and offer him the terms of Lincoln's peace treaty: hunting grounds, no white settlers and $100,000 in gold. War Cloud warns that if the whites are lying, his braves will kill everyone in the town. At the cave, Ruth is apprised of the Southerners' plan and, in order to gain more information, pretends to join their cause. As the men prepare for the gold heist, Ruth and Mike fake an argument so she can cut his ropes. Mike escapes and as the men pursue him, Marsh shoots two of his fellow rebels, hoping to eventually claim the gold for himself. Marsh, Gimpy and the remaining rebels wait for the stage, and when it approaches, they kill the guards. All the rebels are killed in the ensuing fight, except Gimpy and Marsh. Ruth sees them unloading the gold, and when she holds her rifle on them, Marsh grabs his own gun, but Gimpy convinces him just to tie her up. Just as Ruth tries to warn Gimpy that Marsh will kill him, Marsh shoots Gimpy dead. Marsh rides away with the gold, but the Indians and Mike pursue him, and he drops the booty. Mike and Marsh fight, and Mike wins. Back in town, Mike gives a speech and presents the gold and Lincoln's original peace treaty to War Cloud. As Mike and Ruth embrace, War Cloud promises to keep the peace, and the crowd cheers.