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In the 1870s, after the death of his wife, Zachary Hallock moves to Timberline to start a farm with his son Joshua and their dog, Cherokee. In town, as Zack pays for his small piece of land, Josh meets Daniel Skaggs, who has a pretty older sister named Sarah Jane. When a group of outlaws begins a shootout in the street, Cherokee races into the fray and Josh chases him. From his vantage point in the middle of the street, the boy spots a red star on the boot of Gus Varden, who, along with his brother Jonah, has been terrorizing the area for months and now kills the town sheriff. At the dilapidated Hallock farm, Zack worries over their dwindling finances, but the two work night and day over the next few weeks to fix up the house and land. One day, Zack gives in to Josh's pleas to visit George Hadley's horse farm, and after Sarah Jane and Daniel arrive, bearing Sarah Jane's homemade muffins, the four view the horses together. Hadley offers to trade two horses for Zack's first grain harvest, and urges the reluctant Zack to join the Regulators, a group of local men who have been keeping the peace since the sheriff's death. Zack and Josh return home on their new horses, but Josh realizes Cherokee has been left behind, and doubles back alone. On the trail, sudden gunfire causes Josh to hide, and, recognizing the red star on Gus's boot, he watches as Gus and Jonah kill a Pinkerton detective sent to rout them out. After Gus spots Josh, he surreptitiously follows him home, and there overhears Zack scold a startled Josh to keep quiet about what he saw. That night, Hadley and the Regulators visit Zack to ask him once again to join, and after Zack denies any knowledge of the murder, Josh is disappointed in his seemingly cowardly father. Over the next weeks, Zack courts Sarah Jane, who he hopes will be a mother for Josh, and one Sunday chastises Josh for roughhousing in church, worrying that he might scare her away. Sarah Jane overhears him, however, and assures Zack that she cannot be dissuaded from marrying him. Soon after, Zack sends Josh with the harvested grain they owe to Hadley. On the way, however, the Vardens shoot at the wagon, scaring the horses into the river. With both his harvest and horses now ruined, Zack is bankrupt and feels he cannot marry Sarah Jane, but she refuses to leave him. Later, the Vardens visit the farm and offer to include Zack in their next robbery. Josh eavesdrops sorrowfully as his father concurs. The next day, Josh trails Zack as he helps rob a stagecoach, and when Zack returns with a new horse and wagon and a proposal for Sarah Jane, Josh is ashamed. At night, he admits to Zack that he saw him. Although Zack angrily orders him to stay silent, Josh sneaks out to the Regulators' office to engage Hadley's help. Once there, however, he hears the men discussing how they will kill the outlaws, and changes his mind. On the trail home, Gus chases Josh into the hills, where the terrified boy evades Gus until the outlaw falls off a cliff to his death. Soon after, Zack and Sarah Jane marry, and she sets out to transform the house into a welcoming home. Soon, however, Zack begins to go off again at night, and Sarah Jane grows suspicious. The fights between them become more frequent, and finally one night Sarah Jane accuses Zack of being a bandit. Zack refuses to talk about it, and she leaves, vowing to a sobbing Josh that she will always be his mother. Soon after, Jonah informs Zack that their anonymous boss is joining them for one last gold robbery the next afternoon. Zack, who is actually a Pinkerton detective working undercover, sends Josh with a telegraph notifying his chief that he is near success. Josh, however, is stopped along the way by Hadley, the real gang leader, who reads the note, kidnaps Josh and vows to kill Zack. Meanwhile, Zack admits his identity to Sarah Jane, explaining that he was trying to protect her, and that he did not expect to love her. They embrace, and Zack sets out to meet the outlaws. In the hills, he sees that they have tied up Josh, who shouts a warning to his father. Hadley knocks out Zack, but while they steal the gold, Josh wiggles out of his bonds just as Zack revives. When the outlaws return, father and son fight Hadley and Jonah. Zack knocks out Jonah, but Hadley grabs Josh and runs. Zack chases him and, after a long fight, beats up Hadley and rescues Josh, who proudly races into his father's arms. Soon after Sarah Jane arrives with the Regulators, Zack's restored family goes home for the night.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||Premiere Info:||World premiere in Oklahoma City, OK: 24 Mar 1953; Los Angeles opening: 20 May 1953|
|Release Date:||1953||Production Date:||
EBX; UNIV 16 mm
|Color/B&W:||Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Universal Pictures Co., Inc.|
|Sound:||Mono||Production Co:||Universal-International Pictures Co., Inc.|
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The Lone Hand
Great Movie. A movie made the way they should be made. Strong family values. Faith and suspense. Where are these movies now. A clssic western. Oh thank you...