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Moonlight on the Prairie

Moonlight on the Prairie(1935)


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When the carnival he works for goes bankrupt, Ace Andrews, accompanied by escape artist Small Change Turner, returns to Ace's home town even though he is suspected of killing local rancher Butch Roberts. In town, Chuck tells Ace that everyone knows he didn't murder Butch, but the death was blamed on him because he once threatened to kill Butch if he ever saw him beating his horse. Barbara Roberts and her young son Dickie come to town on the incoming stagecoach. She asks directions to the Bar B Ranch, and Ace realizes she must be Butch's wife and Dickie, his son. This guess is soon confirmed by one of the townspeople who explains that Butch left the ranch to Dickie on condition they occupy it thirty days after the funeral. If not, the ranch goes to Luke Thomas. Ace is sure that Luke killed Butch for the ranch and when no one will take Barbara there because of Luke's threats, he offers to help her. Overhearing his plans, Buck Cantwell, Luke's partner, insists that the sheriff arrest Ace for Butch's murder. The sheriff does arrest Ace but leaves the door to his cell open so that he can escape. Ace and Small Change hurry after Barbara and Dickie, who have run into Ace's men. When their first attempt to interfere with Barbara's trip does not succeed, the men stampede a herd of wild horses in their path. Nonetheless, Ace and Dickie arrive at the Bar B just before midnight. Learning that they are cheating Barbara, Ace fires some of Luke's men. Cowhand Jeff Holt reveals himself as a member of the Cattlemen's Association, who has been assigned to find out what happened to cattle reported missing from the ranch. Ace, Jeff and Small Change discover Luke's men changing the Bar B brand and a shootout ensues, which stops when Dickie arrives in search of his hero, Ace. To prevent Dickie from being shot, the three men surrender. Jeff is killed and Ace and Small Change are tied up in the outlaw's cabin. Using his talents as an escape artist, Small Change unties Ace and remains behind while Ace rides off to help Barbara. Luke arrives at the ranch before Ace and after telling Barbara that he has Dickie, he demands that she turn over the ranch to him. Just in time, Ace rides up. Soon after, the sheriff and Cattlemen's Association round up the rest of Luke's men. The ranch is now safe for Dickie and Barbara.