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The Lost Trail

The Lost Trail(1945)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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After saving a runaway stagecoach that has been attacked by outlaws, a passing stranger known as "Nevada" takes the stage and the wounded driver, Ned Turner, to nearby Burnsville, where he is tended to at his sweetheart Jane Burns's house. Jane's father, the owner of the Arizona Stage Line, was killed in the holdup, the latest in a series of robberies perpetrated against the line. Nevada questions Ned about the bandits, but Ned admits he did not see any of their faces. Later, at the Burnsville saloon, Nevada, who identifies himself as cattleman Jack McKenzie, is interrogated by owner John Corbett, the town boss, and ends up brawling with one of Corbett's employees. Unknown to Nevada, Corbett is the outlaws' leader and has been plotting to drive the Arizona Stage Line out of business so that he can control all of the Wells Fargo shipments in the area. At the town livery, meanwhile, stranger Sandy Hopkins shows up with a registered calf, which he claims he is delivering to Nevada. Upon hearing that Burnsville needs a sheriff, Sandy, who calls himself "Trigger," heads for the saloon to talk to Corbett and, after demonstrating his shooting skills, is hired for the job. At the stage line office, meanwhile, Jane and Ned try to reassure mine owners Mason and Jones that their next gold shipment will not be robbed, even though the wounded Ned will be the only driver. When Corbett, who feigns support for Jane, then tells the mine owners that if they can arrange for the Wells Fargo franchise to be turned over to him, he can guarantee safe delivery of their gold, they reluctantly accept his deal. Now suspicious of Corbett, Nevada offers to drive the stage with Ned and suggests they take a short cut through the Lost Trail instead of their usual route. Sandy reveals Nevada's plan to Corbett, who plots with henchman Joe to plant empty Wells Fargo sacks in Nevada's saddlebags to implicate him in the previous robberies. That night, Sandy catches Joe putting the sacks in Nevada's bag, but Joe and Corbett lock him up in a back room in the saloon. The next morning, the outlaws overtake the stage on the Lost Trail and, while demanding the strongbox, call Nevada "Mac" in front of Ned. Sure that Nevada is an accomplice, Ned drives him back to Burnsville at gunpoint. As soon as Nevada is thrown in jail, Corbett's bartender begins to incite the townspeople to form a lynch mob. At the same time, Sandy is freed by old man Zeke and identifies himself as a U.S. Marshal. At the jail, Sandy then pulls a gun on Joe and releases Nevada, who sneaks out the back as the mob is about to break in the front. After Sandy reveals that both he and Nevada are marshals, however, the crowd disperses, and Sandy rushes to the stage line office to assure Jane that the gold was never sent. At the saloon, meanwhile, Nevada draws his gun on Corbett and the bartender and, when Corbett's men burst in to inform Corbett that the strongbox was filled with rocks, Nevada holds them at bay as well. One of the outlaws takes Nevada by surprise, however, and a gunfight ensues. During the mêlée, Corbett attempts to flee, but Nevada fights him until he surrenders. Sandy and Ned round up the remaining outlaws, and Sandy later appoints Ned the new sheriff. Nevada and Sandy then bid a grateful Ned and Jane goodbye and, once on the trail, go their separate ways.