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Badman's Territory

Badman's Territory(1946)

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By the late 1800s, a strip of land north of Texas and west of the Oklahoma territory, not claimed by any official government, has become an outlaw refuge known as Badman's Territory. One day, Texas county sheriff Mark Rowley and his brother and deputy Johnny pursue Jesse and Frank James and their sidekick Coyote toward Badman's Territory after the brothers rob a train. Also chasing the James brothers are U.S. Marshal William Hampton and his posse. After Mark captures Coyote and entrusts him to Johnny, the ruthless, ambitious Hampton tries to claim the old fugitive as his own and shoots Johnny in the back to obtain him. Frank and Jesse, however, ambush Hampton and take Coyote and the wounded Johnny to Quinto, the "capital" of Badman's Territory. Mark, whose prize horse has been stolen by outlaw Frank McGee, tracks his brother to Quinto, where he is being treated by a fugitive doctor and watched over by the James's gang. Although he has no legal authority in Quinto, Mark decides to stay there until Johnny recovers and soon ingratiates himself with Henryetta Alcott, the refined British owner of the Quinto newspaper. Henryetta is leading an effort to bring law and order to Quinto and is therefore a target of Wade, the saloon and hotel owner, and other businessmen who are prospering under the lawless conditions. After Mark defends Henryetta and faces down Wade, he then shoots and kills McGee when he refuses to return his stolen horse. Later, in order to keep peace in Quinto, he makes sure that Belle Starr's horse, on which the local Indian tribe has bet heavily, wins a race through town and retrieves the wager money that outlaw Sam Bass steals from Coyote. During this same time, however, the devious Hampton has issued wanted posters on Mark and Johnny, and Johnny is falling under the influence of the Dalton gang, who are planning their next bank robbery in Kansas. When Colonel Fairwell, the unofficial mayor of Quinto, then appoints Mark the new "regulator" of the town at a dance, Henryetta reveals that Oklahoma has just been annexed and that Badman's Territory can join with Oklahoma. After she acquires enough petition signatures to make Badman's Territory part of the Union, Mark proposes to her, but their happiness is shortlived when Mark refuses to deny Hampton's robbery charges and raises doubts in Henryetta's mind. Mark then discovers that Johnny has ridden off with the Dalton gang and chases him to Coffeyville, Kansas. Although Johnny is not actively involved in the bank holdups, he is shot during the ill-fated escape and is rescued by Mark and Coyote. Mark and Johnny's participation in the robberies comes to the attention to Hampton, who, now entrusted with legal authority in Badman's Territory, rides there with his posse. Before Mark and Johnny can reach Quinto, Johnny dies from his wounds. In Quinto, after Hampton announces that anyone who refuses to cooperate with his outlaw roundup will be shot without question, he shoots and kills Coyote when he refuses to accuse Mark in the Coffeyville robberies. Enraged by Hampton's coldbloodedness, Mark outdraws and kills him as a fight breaks out in the saloon. Mark is acquitted of the subsequent murder charges and happily rides off with Henryetta in the now peaceful town of Quinto.