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Lawless Plainsmen

Lawless Plainsmen(1942)

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On a cattle drive from Texas to Arizona, Steve Rideen, the foreman, and "Lucky" Bannon, the son of ranch owner Mike Bannon, stop at a cow town. There, Steve meets his old friend, Bill Mason, and Bill's daughter Madge, who are leading a wagon train to Tucson. At Baltimore Bonnie's saloon, meanwhile, Bonnie, the proprietor, chides Harmony Stubbs for peddling worthless land to her customers, then retreats to her office. Bonnie is surprised to find her ex-husband, Seth McBride waiting for her, and after Seth claims that he is entitled to half of her money, Bonnie throws him out. Returning to the gambling tables, Bonnie engages Lucky in a hand of blackjack. As Bonnie deals the cards, McBride instructs his henchman, Keller, to create a disturbance while he sneaks into Bonnie's office and robs her safe. In the ensuing scuffle, Lucky is injured and Madge takes him to her wagon to recuperate. When the sheriff arrives at the saloon to investigate the incident, Keller accuses Bonnie of cheating him, and the sheriff orders her to leave town that day. Soon after, Steve comes to the saloon in search of Lucky, and Harmony tells him that Lucky has pulled out with the wagon train. After directing his cowhands to continue the drive without him, Steve and Harmony catch up to the wagons and find Lucky riding with Madge and Bonnie. In the lead wagon, meanwhile, McBride demands that Mason cede him half interest in the wagon train and Mason refuses. Soon after, Mason is shot and his terrified horses bolt. Steve pursues the runaway team, and after he frees the horses, the wagon plunges over a cliff, sending Mason to his death. Feeling responsible for the now leaderless settlers and determined to bring Mason's killer to justice, Steve agrees to accompany the wagons to Tucson. As they near Indian territory, Steve glimpses smoke signals in the hills and orders the wagons to keep moving through the night. McBride, who is in league with the Indians to plunder the wagons, balks at Steve's command and insists upon stopping for the evening. As the wagons continue, the Indians attack, but Steve and the others fend them off. The next day, while scouting for water, Harmony, Lucky and Steve come upon several Indians beating a helpless man. Riding to the captive's rescue, the three chase away the Indians. Their victim then introduces himself as Tascosa, the son of Pima chief Ochella, and explains that his assailants were Apaches, an enemy of his people and members of the tribe that attacked the wagons the previous evening. After sending Lucky to Fort Grant for reinforcements, Steve and Harmony return to camp with Tascosa. McBride, who has since rejoined the train, objects to the presence of the Indian, and asserts that the Pima tribe was responsible for the raid. Claiming that the Apaches are using the white man's bullets and guns, Tascosa offers to ride back to his tribe and assemble an escort of Pima warriors to protect the wagon train. Determined to eliminate Tascosa before he returns with help, McBride follows him. As soon as McBride departs, Bonnie goes to his wagon to look for her stolen money. Keller tries to stop her, but when Steve learns of her suspicions, he searches the wagon and finds Bonnie's strong box as well as a cache of guns and ammunition. Intimidated, Keller confesses McBride's plan to murder Tascosa as he did Mason. Steve, Harmony and Bonnie pursue McBride, catching up to him just after he has shot Tascosa. Steve knocks McBride off his horse, and in the ensuing fight, McBride pulls his gun on Steve, forcing Steve to shoot in self-defense. After sending Harmony and Bonnie back to the wagons, Steve journeys to the Pima camp to deliver Tascosa's lifeless body to his father. Lucky, meanwhile, meets Kit Carson, who volunteers to convey the message to Fort Grant so that Lucky can return to the wagon train. Upon reaching the wagons, Lucky learns of Steve's peril and rides out to help him. At the Pima camp, meanwhile, Ochella blames Steve for his son's death and orders his execution. As the war drums beat, Lucky sneaks into the tent in which Steve is being held captive and frees him. When the Indians discover that Steve is missing, they jump on their horses, bent on revenge. Lucky and Steve gallop back to camp, followed by the Indians, who swiftly surround the camp and open fire. At that moment, the cavalry comes to the rescue and chases away the Indians. Upon reaching Tucson, Bonnie and Madge open a general store, while Lucky and Steve, their mission completed, ride back to the Bannon ranch in Texas.