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Night Raiders

Night Raiders(1952)

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Crying Boy

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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One night outside the town of Bitter Springs, Nevada, rancher Charlie Davis, his daughter Laura and their friend Tex return to the ranch to find a gang of masked raiders ransacking the house, but the gang escapes unharmed. Davis and Tex ride to town to demand action from the sheriff, Ernest B. Hodkins, who protests that although several raids have occurred lately, the gang has left no clue to their identity. Tex sends a telegram to his old pals, marshals Whip Wilson and Jim Dugan, asking them to come to Bitter Springs to investigate. In the saloon, owner Mike Lorch, who is actually the leader of the raiders, watches Davis and Tex suspiciously. He then instructs his goon, Cherokee, to find out what they are planning, and by drawing on the pad on which Tex has written his telegraph message, Cherokee is able to read the note and inform Lorch about the marshals. To deter the lawmen, Lorch sends his henchman Talbot, who shoots at them on the trail and drops a note warning them to leave. Undaunted, Whip and Jim enter town, where Tex brings them to Hodkins' office. Whip sees Lorch on the street and recognizes him as an ex-convict who recently finished a jail term for robbing a railroad payroll, and notes that neither the money nor Lorch's partner was ever found. Hodkins enters and, after assuring the marshals that finding the raiders is a hopeless task, defends Lorch as a model citizen who has worked hard to leave his past behind. Meanwhile, Lorch has sent his men to ransack an empty mine shack, and when Davis sees the raiders riding, he follows them to the shack and starts a shootout. Davis shoots Cherokee off his horse, and is shot in return, but Laura finds him moments later and races to the sheriff's office to get help. Hodkins, Whip and Jim accompany her back to the shack, where they find both Davis and Cherokee alive. When Whip insists on holding Cherokee for questioning at the Davis ranch, Hodkins, who was Lorch's partner in the railroad robbery, secretly informs Lorch of Whip's plan. Since the robbery money has never been recovered, however, Lorch distrusts Hodkins, whom he correctly assumes has hidden the loot somewhere in town. Lorch has been staging the raids in order to frighten Hodkins into revealing the location of the money, and now Whip and Jim's appearance further agitates the sheriff. Later, Davis, who is recovering from his gunshot wound, tells Whip he thinks he saw a man named Blair among the raiders. Whip then plans to trick Cherokee by lying that Blair has been arrested and placed all the blame on Cherokee. When the wounded man hears this, he agrees to inform on his gang, but Lorch's men sneak up outside the house and kill Cherokee before he can talk. The next day, Whip realizes that Hodkins was the only one who could have tipped off the gang to Cherokee's location. He searches the newspaper archives and, upon discovering a photograph of Hodkins identifying him as a former railroad employee, deduces that Hodkins was Lorch's robbery partner. To disconcert the sheriff, Whip confronts him with his suspicion, and states that he has sent for railroad employee records. He then follows Hodkins, who immediately sneaks into Whip's room to search for the records. His hunch confirmed, Whip arrests Hodkins, but then plots with Jim and Tex to allow the sheriff to escape while they "guard" him, so they can trail him to the hidden loot. To this end, Whip pretends to leave town, but doubles back and watches the jail. Meanwhile, Lorch forms a similar plan, and brings his gang to the jail to knock out Tex and free Hodkins, whom they will then follow. Whip, hidden behind the jail, secretly knocks out Blair, dons his disguise, and rides off with the gang after they release Hodkins. Lorch leads Hodkins into the hills, where he frees him and tells him to flee town. Meanwhile, Jim revives Tex in time to see Blair awaken and ride off on Whip's horse. While they set off after Blair, Hodkins races to the Davis ranch, where he buried the robbery money years earlier, and begins to dig it up. Davis and Laura see him, however, and Davis holds him at gunpoint while Laura rides for help. When Lorch sees Laura race by him on the trail, he sends "Blair" after her, not knowing that Blair is actually Whip in disguise. Moments later, however, the real Blair joins the gang, and Lorch realizes he has been duped. He sends his men after Whip and Laura, and a shootout ensues, during which Laura manages to slip away. She runs into Jim and Tex on the trail and enlists their help, and together, the lawmen kill off the gang members. In the meantime, Hodkins has knocked the gun from Davis' hand and tied him up, but Lorch arrives moments later and, after grabbing the loot, kills Hodkins. Whip arrives just as Lorch flees, and after a long chase, knocks out the outlaw and retrieves the money. Later, Lorch, Hodkins and the gang have been arrested, and the marshals are free to return home.