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The Falcon Out West

The Falcon Out West(1944)

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In a New York nightclub, Tom Lawrence, the debonair sleuth known as "The Falcon," meets Mrs. Irwin, who asks him to prevent the marriage of her ex-husband Tex to gold digger Vanessa Drake. Tom refuses to become involved in the affair until Tex, who is dining at the club with his entourage, collapses on the dance floor and dies. Upon examining Tex's body, Tom discovers a rattle snake bite on his arm and an empty wallet in his pocket. When Inspector Timothy Donovan of homicide arrives at the club to investigate the murder, Tex's attorney, Stephen Hayden, requests that the inspector postpone questioning Vanessa until she can regain her composure. After Vanessa leaves the table, Tom notices that one of two train tickets found on Tex's body is missing. Tom pockets the other ticket, and when Vanessa boards the Texas bound train, she is surprised to find Tom waiting for her in her compartment. When Vanessa tells Tom that the answer to Tex's death is in Texas, he decides to accompany her to Tex's ranch. At the train station, they are greeted by Donovan, his assistant, Bates, and Hayden. Donovan, who is waiting for extradition papers to take Vanessa back to New York, accepts her invitation to join her at the ranch. Also at the station is Dusty, Tex's foreman, whom Tom recognizes having seen in the nightclub right before Tex's collapse. Dusty has brought a stagecoach to transport Vanessa and her party to the ranch, but when the horses are spooked by the gunplay of some boisterous ranchhands, they run away with the coach and its passengers. Marion Colby, the daughter of Tex's partner, Dave Colby, comes to their rescue and drives them to the ranch. When they find the house darkened and deserted, Marion invites them to dinner that night. Upon entering the house, Hayden finds the safe emptied and its contents strewn across a table. At the Colby ranch that night, Tom follows Marion into a back room, where she is hiding a set of baggage checks, evidence that she and her father were in New York at the time of Tex's death. Marion tells Tom that they had tried to dissuade Tex from marrying Vanessa, but their efforts ended in an argument and they left before he died. Vanessa's screams then draw everyone to the patio, where someone has tried to stab her with a knife. Unable to find her assailant, Tom, Donovan and the others return to Tex's ranch and discover Mrs. Irwin there. After she announces that she plans to move back to the ranch until the estate is settled, Tom notices a bloodstain on her sleeve. Later that night, Tom returns to his room and finds a scalp pinned to his door with a dagger, which Vanessa tells him is a Comanche death warning. The next day, when Tom shows Colby the scalp, which he assumes came from his extensive collection of Indian artifacts, Colby informs him that the Comanches never took scalps. Donovan then arrives and orders everyone to assemble at Tex's ranch later that afternoon. At three o'clock, Hayden presents Vanessa, Mrs. Irwin and the Colbys with papers from Tex's safe and asks that they examine them, then leaves the room. Observing that Mrs. Irwin is bending the pages in the exact same way as the rifled papers were bent, Donovan accuses her of breaking into the safe. At that moment, Eagle Feather, an Irwin servant, comes into the room with news that Hayden is ill. Rushing to Hayden's room, the group watches helplessly as he dies of a snake bite. Donovan persists in his belief that Mrs. Irwin is responsible for the murders until they all go outside and someone takes a shot at him. Upon discovering that their assailant is Red, one of Colby's men, Donovan begins to suspect Colby and goes to question him at his ranch. When Tom finds an Indian medicine bag containing the deed to Tex's ranch and a poison ring in the shape of a snake, Colby says that he stole the deed because Tex discovered that Vanessa was cheating on him and had changed his mind about willing her the ranch. Although Colby claims that his duplicate poison ring had been stolen months earlier, Donovan refuses to believe him and places him under arrest. As Donovan accompanies his prisoner to the car, Tom stays behind and accuses Vanessa of murder. Tom charges her with hanging the scalp on his door to frighten him away and of killing Tex before he could rescind his decision to deed her the ranch. Vanessa is about the plunge the fangs of the poison ring into Tom's arm when Dusty, her lover, enters the room and orders Tom to the car at gunpoint. Meanwhile, in the driveway, Colby's ranchhands have freed their boss from Donovan and are walking back toward the house. When Dusty sees them approaching, he orders Tom back into the house, and Tom hangs the ring on the outside of the door before it closes. Upon seeing the ring, Colby's men and Donovan surround the house and begin shooting. In the chaos, Tom disarms Dusty by slamming the door into his arm, after which he arrests Vanessa. At the train station, Tom and Marion are watching Donovan and Bates board their train when a beautiful woman steps from the train and asks Tom for his help.