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The Black Lash

The Black Lash(1952)

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In the Arizona territory during the late 1800s, pioneers pour in to tap the riches of the West, followed closely by bandits and gamblers who rob and kill the settlers. In one town, Marshal Fuzzy Q. Jones awaits word from his partner, Lash La Rue, who has recently disappeared and is rumored to have turned outlaw. Hearing someone mention the town of Rhyolite, Fuzzy realizes Lash may be holed up in their old hideout and heads there. Lash is indeed there, posing as a gunslinger and conspiring with cattle association detective Lem Woodruff. They welcome Fuzzy's help and explain that they are trying to trap local cattleman Deuce Rago, a notorious criminal who was released from jail by a crooked judge. Lash has been repeatedly ambushing Rago's gang just after they rob the Silver Queen Mine's payroll off the local stagecoach, and he is now about to return the latest payroll to the mine owner, Adams. While Lash and Fuzzy plan their next move, Rago commiserates with his slick lawyer, Bill Leonard, over the lost payroll robberies, and Leonard suggests Rago hire a gunslinger to protect the gang. Rago then welcomes his girl friend, Joan DeLysa, to town and informs her that soon they will have enough money to move to San Francisco. Lash and Fuzzy head to Adams', realizing along the way that they are being followed by two deputies hired by Sheriff Brant, who receives payoffs from Rago. They split up, then Fuzzy outsmarts his attacker while Lash overpowers his. Afterward, Rago invites Lash, who he thinks has gone renegade, to join his gang. Lash agrees to help steal the next silver shipment from the Silver Queen, but then instructs Johnson, the mine foreman, to re-melt the silver into much larger bars before shipping it. Later, Lash and Fuzzy invent a reason to leave Rago's gang in anger, then secretly watch as the men discover that the bars are too heavy to lift. At the town saloon that night, Lash beats up Brant when he sees the sheriff trying to manhandle Joan. Rago thanks him but then orders Brant to kill Lash after they retrieve the rest of the silver from the mine. On the way to the mine, Rago's men surround Lash and Fuzzy. While Brant brings Lash to a cabin and proceeds to beat him mercilessly, Fuzzy escapes his captor. The marshal races to the cabin, saving Lash just before Brant can burn him with a cigarette. Lash rushes to town, where Rago, who blames Leonard for suggesting they team up with Lash, kills the lawyer. Lash bursts into the office and shoots Rago's gun out of his hand. As he arrests Rago, however, Joan enters the office behind Lash and holds him up. Rago allows Lash to say a few last words, giving Fuzzy, who is hiding outside the window, enough time to shoot the cattleman. Later, Lash explains Rago's scheme to the mayor, stating that Rago failed to realize that the citizens of the West will not stand for criminals because they want their land to be lawful.