powered by AFI
Outlaw Hank Cardigan is paroled from prison after serving ten years. His release coincides with the twenty-fifth anniversary of his gang's raid on the town of West Bend, and he returns there, determined to go straight. However, he encounters only rejection when he tries to find work and is attacked in a saloon. After Good Samaritan Jimmy Wakely intervenes on his behalf, Hank discovers that Duke Corlis, a former protégé, is now running the local gang and that Hank's son Tom is one of the gang. Tom tells Duke that he hopes his father will join up with them, so Duke frames Hank for a robbery and killing. Again Jimmy comes to Hank's aid by capturing the real culprit and securing a confession from him. Jimmy, who is manager of Jane Darnton's stagecoach line, hires Hank as a guard, but the stage, carrying mine payrolls, is attacked by Duke and his associates, Jensen, Tom and others. Jimmy and his pal "Cannonball" are able to foil the holdup and Hank chases after the gang. When Hank encounters Tom, he lets him escape after they agree to meet later in town. At Duke's hideout, Hank makes a surprise entrance, gets the drop on the gang and urges Tom to leave. Although Tom does not want to leave, Duke tells Hank that he will try to persuade him to go. Duke makes the promise only to gain Hank's confidence and to get information about stage shipments. Later, Jane organizes a party to thank Hank for his good work and even the sheriff offers him a job as a deputy, but Hank protests that he is too old. Although he wants to move upstate to work on a friend's ranch, Hank does agree to stay on until Jane can find a replacement. Soon after, Tom and Hank meet at the saloon and Jimmy, who knew Tom previously, realizes that Hank is trying to straighten his son out. At Jane's party, Tom sees that his father has been accepted by the townsfolk and tells him that he will persuade Duke and the gang to leave the territory. Jimmy then tells Hank that, as part of the anniversary events, the town has decided to re-enact Hank's bank raid and wants him to play his original role. After Tom asks Duke not to bother Hank and informs him about the planned re-enactment, Duke decides to use the event as a cover for a robbery of his own. During a rehearsal of the re-enactment, the actors use blanks in their guns, and Duke's men, without Tom along, steal $20,000 from Jane's safe and take Hank prisoner. The sheriff suspects that Hank is behind the robbery, but Cannonball finds that Hank has written the location of the gang's hideout on a wall. Meanwhile, Tom has gone to the hideout and is about to rescue his father when he is overpowered. Jimmy and Cannonball arrive at the hideout and Tom foils the gang's ambush by placing some bullets in a stove where they explode, alerting Jimmy and Cannonball. Duke then tries to double-cross his men and leaves with the money, but Jimmy chases after him on horseback and captures him while Cannonball rounds up the others. Later, the sheriff makes Cannonball a deputy and the county attorney seeks a full pardon for Hank. After the attorney paroles Tom to Hank's custody, they both decide to work at the stageline.