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Phantom Rancher

Phantom Rancher(1940)

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Ken Mitchell becomes embroiled in a struggle for land rights when he comes to take possession of a ranch left to him by his late uncle Jim. Distrusted because of his relationship to Jim, whom the farmers accused of stampeding his herds across their pastures, Ken decides to find out who is really behind the stampedes. When his help is refused by Ann Markham and the other ranchers, Ken infiltrates the gang of outlaws who killed Ann's father. Pretending that he is only interested in forcing the farmers from their lands, Ken learns that Collins, a respected rancher, is behind Markham's murder and the cattle stampedes. In an attempt to rectify the situation, Ken dons a mask and becomes the Phantom Rancher, dispensing money to the farmers so that they can pay off their mortgages and thwart Collins' plans. When Ken realizes that Collins is going to frame him by branding his own cattle with the Mitchell mark and then driving them across the pasture, he sends Gopher, his only friend, for the sheriff. Before Gopher can return, however, Ann stumbles upon the branding operation and is taken prisoner by Collins' men. After riding to Ann's rescue, Ken sends her for the sheriff, while he detains Collins and his men. Ken captures Collins, after which the sheriff and his posse arrive, and Luke, one of the gang, confessses that Collins was behind Markham's murder and the cattle raids. With justice served, Ken removes his mask and is accepted as a trusted member of the community.