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Phantom Stallion

Phantom Stallion(1954)

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In the 1800s, several of widower Mike Reilly's best Irish thoroughbred horses have been disappearing from the Spanish rancho that he inherited from his wife. Claire, Reilly's niece, and Gill, the foreman Reilly hired at Claire's insistence, claim they have seen evidence that a dominant stallion from a wild herd has been leading the horses away. While trying to catch the stallion, Reilly is cornered by the wild animal and left at its mercy, after Claire rides off with his horse. Rex Allen, who has recently led a wagon train West and has come looking for his former Army buddy, ranchhand Slim Pickens, shows up in time to scare the stallion away and save Reilly's life. Claire then returns with Gill, claiming that she rode off to get help. After the injured Reilly is taken home, Gill tries to kill a wild, newborn filly that is believed to be the offspring of the stallion, but young Tony, Reilly's adopted son, wants to keep it. When Rex sides with Tony, he and Gill get in a fistfight, and Tony sneaks the filly, which he names after his deceased mother, into the ranch's tack room. Later, the grateful Reilly offers Rex a job at the ranch and is open to Rex's suggestion that they keep the filly to lure the wild stallion into a trap. The secretly engaged Claire and Gill, who have been using the stallion to explain the missing horses they have been selling off, do not want the stallion caught. Claire tries flirting with Rex, but the new hand shows no interest in her attempts to distract him and Gill gets jealous. Rex and Slim catch the stallion and secure it in a tall stall that Rex has built. Reilly, who believes the capture will end the reduction of his stock, is eager to kill the animal. Rex, however, reports that he found no horses bearing the ranch's brand when he checked out the wild herd and shares his suspicions that Reilly's missing thoroughbreds have been stolen, not led away by the stallion. As the disappearance of the horses began after Gill was hired, Reilly finds Rex's suggestion plausible. Gill, who overhears the conversation, accuses Rex of lying and takes a swing at him. Reilly fires Gill on the spot and offers his job to Rex. As Rex thinks the horse could be worth a lot of money, Reilly also gives Rex his blessing to try to break the stallion. However, Rex's main concern is to discover what has happened to the thoroughbreds. Despite Gill's banishment from the ranch, he and Claire continue scheming. During the evening, Gill secretly frees the stallion. Then Claire tricks Reilly into coming outside, where he is trampled to death by Gill's horse. Afterward, Claire yells for help, feigning great distress and claiming that she saw the stallion attack Reilly. Unconvinced by her story that the stallion killed Reilly, Rex points out that the hoof prints left by the killer horse were of a shod horse. Believing that Reilly was murdered, Rex and Slim share their suspicions with Reilly's lawyer, Escobar, who is in possession of Reilly's will. As Reilly was his good friend, Escobar decides to mislead Claire, who is Reilly's heir, into believing that Tony inherited the ranch. Given the extra time to prove their suspicions, Rex and Slim begin following Claire and her beau. While sticking closely to the treacherous couple, Slim fails to notice when Tony rides out alone to bring in the grazing filly. Upon realizing that the boy is missing, Rex and Slim track him down to a corral where Claire, Gill and their two henchmen have kidnapped him. Gunfire stops the murderers from throwing Tony into a corral with the wild stallion and also disables the henchmen. Rex and Slim then chase the escaping Claire and Gill and deliver them into the hands of the law. Later, Gill and Claire are sentenced to hang for the crimes of murder and horse stealing, and Tony inherits the ranch.