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In Old Amarillo

In Old Amarillo(1951)

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Roy Rogers, a trouble-shooter for the George B. Hills Cattle Syndicate, is sent to check on George's original ranch, the Lazy H., which is losing cattle due to a drought. On his way, he encounters ranchers torching needles off cactus, an old settlers' trick to provide moisture for thirsty cattle. After a bullet shot from afar explodes their gas tank, killing two ranchhands, Roy helps put out the fire, and introduces himself to Madge Adams, the granddaughter of Granny Adams, a highly regarded homesteader. Later, Roy reports to George that water should be shipped to his ranch. George decides to have Roy replace the Lazy H's ranch manager, Clint Burnside, who George suspects is stealing. After George finds his son Phillip drunk in an Amarillo cantina, he asks Roy to take Phil along and tells Phil, who has frittered away his mother's legacy, that he must now make his own fortune. Upon returning to the area, Roy fires Burnside, who then tries to lure Phil away from Roy's influence by inviting him to the Pay Dirt Cafe. Later, Roy goes to the Adams ranch to inform Granny that George is sending her a water tank, and finds Burnside there offering insincere sympathy and money for her remaining cattle. Unknown to all of them, Burnside's henchmen shot the gas tank. Phil ties up Pinky Lee, a bodyguard hired by George to keep an eye on his son, and heads for the Pay Dirt, where he meets Burnside's partner, Mike Carver, the proprietor of the cafe. Under false pretenses, Burnside and Carver, who are secretly planning to force the ranchers to sell their dying herds and set up a cannery, get Phil to join their partnership. After Phil's jealous fiancée Pepita, an Amarillo cantina singer, arrives at the cafe having followed him, Roy and Pinky witness her angry outburst and eventually arrange for her to board at the Adams ranch. Later, Phil gets drunk while he is supposed to be guarding a water tank with Pinky. Burnside's men then knock out Pinky, and roll the water tank away on the railroad line. When Roy and his men try to recapture it, a shootout ensues. The water tank is rolled to the railroad bridge, where explosives are set off by Burnside's men. With the bridge down, the ranchers cannot bring in water, and when the cattle continue to die from the drought, Carver offers to buy them. Roy convinces the ranchers to hire a rainmaker instead. At Granny's suggestion, they raise money by holding a benefit, and hire Stan Benson to seed the clouds with silver iodide. When Burnside learns that Phil can pilot a plane, he forces him to fly at gunpoint, and shoots and kills Benson in the air. Though Benson's crash appears a mystery, Roy finds a bullet hole in a broken window in the plane's wreckage. Granny is demoralized by the dying cattle, so Roy suggests conducting a prayer meeting, during which he overhears Pepita scold Phil for flying a plane. Roy calls George and urges him to come out immediately, and his conversation is overheard by Pinky. Although Roy tells him not to repeat what he heard, Pinky tells George that Phil may be involved in a murder. At the Pay Dirt, George angrily confronts Phil and tries to drag him away, but Burnside and Carver refuse to allow George to leave. A fight erupts, but Roy and Pinky arrive and rescue George. After Burnside warns Phil that he will hang if he reveals what happened, Carver and Burnside plot to kill Phil and make his death look like a suicide. Phil then decides to seed the clouds with dry ice, but is ambushed at the plane by Burnside and his men. Roy, George and the sheriff arrive after being alerted by Roy's dog, Bullet. During the ensuing gunfight, both Phil and George suffer superficial wounds. Phil tells George that he did not kill Benson, and the relieved George urges him to carry out his plan. Phil takes off in the plane, and drops dry ice in the clouds. Meanwhile, Pinky has rounded up the other ranchers, who apprehend most of Burnside's men. When the seeded clouds produce rain, Burnside tries to escape, but Roy pursues him, and after a struggle, Burnside and Carver are arrested. Later, the reformed Phil marries Pepita with George's blessing, and Roy, Pinky, Madge and Granny happily attend the ceremony. The couple ride off to the train station in a buggy, but when Pinky realizes he still has their tickets, Roy jumps on Trigger to deliver them.