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No Place to Land

No Place to Land(1958)

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The moment cropduster pilot Jonas Bailey finally grows tired of his promiscuous girl friend, Iris Leigh, Buck Lavonne, who owns the largest crop-dusting company in California, steps in and convinces her to marry him. Although Iris finds Buck repellent, she agrees, hoping to make Jonas jealous. When they tell Jonas that they have been married, he merely scorns them, and after Buck throws a punch, Jonas beats him up and turns his back on Iris as she pleads with him to take her back. At home, Buck explains to Iris, who refuses to kiss him, that he married her to make other men envy him, and warns her not to cheat on him. As soon as he leaves, however, she calls grocer Barton Pine and seductively promises he can "deliver her groceries" in exchange for information about Jonas' location. Meanwhile, Jonas is flying with his friend and co-pilot, Swede, when a cable snaps on his plane. Swede risks his life to climb onto the wing and steer them to a safe landing. They land in the small town of Hopeville, where they approach cropduster Roy Dillon for a job. Roy is drunk, however, and after he rages about Buck taking over his business, Jonas and Swede take him home to his wife, Lynn. Attracted to Lynn and eager for work, Jonas offers to dust Roy's crops for him, and Lynn gratefully accepts. At the same time, Pine shows up at Buck's under the pretense of delivering groceries, prompting Buck to deduce Iris' plan and intimidate Pine into agreeing to give any information about Jonas to him instead of Iris. Later, after Buck leaves for San Diego, his assistant Chick seduces Iris by telling her that he has seen Jonas' plane in Hopeville. Iris soon packs up and moves to Hopeville, and at the local bar, attracts the attention of one of Buck's pilots, Miles Colby. Miles, not knowing that Iris is his boss's wife, takes her to a motel room and makes love to her, after which she threatens to tell Buck if he does not track down Jonas for her. Meanwhile, Jonas has accepted a permanent job with Roy, and tells Lynn that Swede received a head injury while climbing onto the wing of his plane to steer them to safety. Buck, upon finding Iris gone, assumes Pine told Iris where Jonas is, and roughs up the grocer, who vows that he has not been to the Lavonne house, as he saw Buck's truck parked outside the back door. Buck realizes that Chick, who drives his truck, has paid Iris a visit, and takes his assistant to the canal, where Chick pulls out a knife to use in self-defense. When Buck punches Chick and throws him in the water, Chick, afraid that the current will drag him into the dam, confesses that he told Iris that Jonas is in Hopeville. Buck promises to save Chick, but instead knocks him out, sending him plunging into the dam. Soon after, Jonas drops off Swede at the local doctor's office, and outside runs into Lynn. They walk together in the park, where Lynn tells Jonas that she married Roy at a young age, before realizing he was an alcoholic. Although Lynn knows Roy needs her, she cannot keep herself from kissing Jonas. Miles has been watching the couple, and now reports back to Iris, who orders him to inform Roy. As Jonas drinks in the bar, hoping to forget Lynn, Swede learns from the doctor that he will go blind within a few months. Later, he informs Jonas, pretending to be nonchalant about the news, then goes to the canal. While Buck tracks down Iris and forces her to leave with him, Miles reveals Lynn's infidelity to Roy, who begins drinking steadily. Soon after, Buck finds Swede at the canal and terrorizes him, swearing to gain vengeance on all the men who he assumes have laughed at him for his inability to attract women. In self-defense, Swede grabs a stake and accidentally runs it through Buck, killing him. Iris exults and informs Swede she will claim that he attacked them both unless he brings her to Jonas. When Jonas hears about the incident, he promises to take care of everything and heads to his truck, but is stopped by Lynn, who reveals that Roy has left for the airstrip. They rush there but Roy is already in the air, attempting to crop-dust. Due to his extreme intoxication, he ingests the crop dust and, after crash-landing, dies. Afterward, Lynn refuses to see Jonas, but the doctor assures her she will overcome her guilt for Roy's death. When Jonas confronts Iris, she warns him that unless he takes her back, she will have Swede jailed. With no choice, Jonas prepares to fly out of town with her, but at the airfield, Swede shows up and punches Jonas. Explaining to his friend's unconscious body that he does not care to live without his sight, and does not want Jonas to have to live with Iris, Swede boards the plane on which Iris is waiting. As Jonas revives and watches, Swede performs one last, daring flight and then steers the plane directly into the ground.