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The Nebraskan

The Nebraskan(1953)

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Wade Harper, an army scout, and Wingfoot, his Indian aide, reach Fort Kearny, Nebraska, pursued by a horde of Sioux Indians. After Wade reports to the fort's commanding officer, Col. Markham, that Wingfoot has been accused of murdering the tribal chief, Thundercloud, Markham orders that Wingfoot's accusers, the new chief Spotted Bear and his son Yellow Knife, be allowed to enter the fort for a powwow. When the Indians demand that Wingfoot be turned over to them, Markham refuses, explaining that under the laws of the new state of Nebraska, Wingfoot is entitled to a fair trial. Rejecting the colonel's edict, the Indians threaten war. Wingfoot is jailed with Reno, a renegade soldier, and when Reno escapes that night, after killing three guards, he forces Wingfoot to accompany him. Markham orders Wade, Capt. DeWitt and soldiers Phillips and Anderson to go after them. After DeWitt ignores Wade's advice and insists upon taking a short cut through open country, he and the two other soldiers are shot and killed by Reno, despite Wingfoot's protests. Wade is then thrown by his horse and feigns death to avoid further violence. Posing as army scouts, Reno and Wingfoot join up with a cavalry platoon heading for Fort Kearny as reinforcements. While riding with the platoon, Reno and Wingfoot help to rescue a stagecoach under attack by the Indians. Inside the coach are Ace Eliot, a gambler, and his beautiful young wife Paris, who are bound for Omaha. Reno then persuades the platoon's captain to let him and Wingfoot accompany the couple to a way station. As soon as the cavalrymen are out of sight, however, Reno holds up the couple and forces Wingfoot to help him. Unexpectedly, Wade appears and disarms the two men with the help of Eliot. Wade and Paris recognize each other as former sweethearts but pretend to be strangers. After Reno implicates Wingfoot in the killing of the soldiers, Wade tells Eliot to tie them up and then they all head for the way station. McBride, the operator of the station and an ex-cavalryman who was acquainted with Wade in the army, welcomes the party, but unwittingly reveals Wade and Paris' former relationship. Having been informed by their scouts of Wingfoot's presence at McBride's, the Sioux, led by Spotted Bear, come to take him prisoner. Eliot urges Wade to turn over Wingfoot, but Wade refuses to give in to the Indians' demands, causing the Indians to attack. After the group holds off several prolonged attacks, Eliot holds Wade and McBride at gunpoint and orders Wade to hand over Wingfoot to the Sioux, but Wade overpowers him. Eliot then unsuccessfully tries to persuade Paris to use her feminine wiles on Wade. When Reno suggests to Eliot that they join forces, Eliot gives him his Derringer, but Paris foils his attempt to shoot Wade. Eliot then reveals that he and Paris, a former dance hall girl, are not really married. After the Indians blast a gaping hole in the corner of McBride's building, Eliot once again attempts to kill Wade, but Wingfoot proves his allegiance by saving Wade's life and killing Eliot. An attempt by McBride to go for reinforcements fails when he is captured by the Indians and returned to the station alive. Meanwhile, Spotted Bear admits to Yellow Knife that he killed Thundercloud and orders him to seize Wingfoot. Yellow Knife and a number of Sioux break into the building, kill Reno and abduct Paris. During the attack, Yellow Knife is knocked unconscious and the building is set on fire. Realizing that Paris is being held hostage, Wingfoot tells Spotted Bear that he will give himself up if Spotted Bear will free the whites. Spotted Bear agrees, but goes back on his word once Wingfoot surrenders. Meanwhile, Yellow Knife lies unconscious in the flame-engulfed building. When Spotted Bear refuses to help Yellow Knife, Wade runs into the burning building and risks his life to save the young Indian. Yellow Knife repays him by admitting to the tribe that his father, not Wingfoot, killed Thundercloud. Yellow Knife then engages in mortal combat with his father, who falls on his own knife and dies. Yellow Knife is proclaimed chief and frees Wade, Paris, Wingfoot and McBride, then promises to work with Wingfoot for peace with the whites. As Wade, Paris and McBride start back for Fort Kearny, Wade and Paris embrace.