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Boss of Rawhide

Boss of Rawhide(1943)

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When a stagecoach tries to cross the Colby ranch on a public road that is the only connection to a railroad station, two guards stop them and demand an entrance fee for each passenger and his luggage. Texas Rangers Jim Steele, Panhandle Perkins and Jed Bones are working undercover as the stagecoach drivers, and after a scuffle with the guards, they reluctantly pay the fee. However, the driver of another wagon is killed by a sniper when he refuses to pay the toll. Fellow ranger Tex Wyatt, who is posing as a drifter, witnesses the driver's murder and the theft of his wagon, and abandons the stagecoach to walk. He ends up at the Colby ranch, where the foreman, Bill Holden, becomes suspicious. Holden takes Tex into Rawhide to find the coat Tex claims he pawned. Tex manages to alert Panhandle, who intimidates the pawnshop owner into cooperating with him and identifying a jacket as Tex's. Nevertheless, Sam Barret, the boss of Rawhide, and Holden identify Tex as Ranger Chief Wyatt's son. In order to break up Barret's racket, Tex convinces his father to run for the office of land commissioner, so that small ranchers will have a representative among the big ranchers who dominate the area. Barret reacts by nominating Holden to run against Wyatt, in order to garner the support of the big ranchers. Colby, who is ignorant of Holden's dealings in his name, comes to town with his daughter Mary, but his stagecoach is held up on Holden's orders. Tex rides up and chases off the attackers, thereby earning Mary's trust. Colby agrees to attend a town meeting at which Wyatt will speak. Fearing they will lose the support of the big ranchers, Holden and Barret tell Colby that the small ranchers have destroyed his fences, and Holden then disrupts the town meeting by telling Colby that his herds have been rustled. Using a long-range rifle, Barret shoots Wyatt from outside, and Holden tells Colby that the bullet was meant for him. The marshals have their suspicions about Barret confirmed when they find the same type of bullet used in a long-range rifle in the coat Tex got at the pawnshop, which used to belong to Barret. The marshals then follow Barret into the hills, and Mary unintentionally catches Barret trying to ambush them. The marshals rescue Mary before Barret can harm her and send her to town to inform Wyatt. Barret returns to town and his men then take Colby hostage at his office, but are unable to leave because the Rangers surround them. After Tex beats Barret in a fistfight, the corrupt gang is arrested and Colby promises to support Wyatt's campaign.