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Raiders of San Joaquin

Raiders of San Joaquin(1943)

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Rocky Morgan and his good friend, Eustace Clairmont, have just entered California's San Joaquin Valley when Rocky reads a notice, signed by John Rogers, Bodine Carter and Gil Blake, calling for a meeting of local ranchers at Rogers' General Store. According to the notice, the purpose of the meeting is to organize a reaction to the acquisition of ranch land in their area by Gus Sloan of the A & W railroad. Soon thereafter, Rocky and Eustace rescue Gil Blake from the hands of railroad agent Lear and his men. Lear then goes to the Blake ranch and tells Jim Blake, Gil's father, that he must sell his ranch to A & W or the railroad will have the government condemn it. Later, Rocky and Eustace are hired by the Blakes, with Eustace becoming the new cook. The next day, the ranchers hold their meeting and elect Jim to represent them at a planned meeting with the railroad's vice-president in nearby Jackson City. Jim, however, is shot and killed by railroad deputy Tanner as he is being arrested by Clark, the local marshal. Gil quickly avenges his father's death by killing Tanner in a gunfight, then forms a vigilante mob, composed of displaced ranchers. These actions delight Clark, as he is actually the crooked leader of Lear's gang, and is scheming with them to acquire the ranchers' lands and sell it at a high profit to the railroad. Later, Rocky and Jane Carter, the daughter of rancher Bodine Carter, meet with Gil and his men. Afraid that the railroad will be able to take over his land now that he is an outlaw, Gil hands over the deed to the Blake ranch to Jane and vows to protect the Carter ranches from the railroad men. Gil and his men then plan to abduct Sloan from a stagecoach, but Rocky stops the coach first and rescues the railroad man. Rocky learns that Sloan has a silent partner in his land-grabbing scheme, but is unaware that it is Rogers. Rocky then reveals to Bodine that he is the son of the railroad's vice president, so the rancher agrees to assist him by meeting with Sloan. With the help of Lear, Sloan forces Bodine to sell the ranches to him for $30,000, one-tenth of their actual value. That night, however, Rocky goes to Sloan's office and forces him at gunpoint to hand over the ranch deeds. Looking through Sloan's papers, Rocky comes to suspect that Rogers is Sloan's secret partner. Rocky then rides to the Carter ranch, where he finds Gil hiding in the barn. The two men fight, and when Sloan's men arrive, Rocky is credited with Gil's capture. Sloan soon discovers Rocky's true allegiances, however, so Eustace breaks Gil out of jail and the two men ride to Rocky's rescue. Rocky, meanwhile, captures Sloan and forces him to exchange clothes, then rides to stop Sloan's men from killing Bodine and Jane, who are returning to town by stagecoach with Rocky's father. Sloan, dressed as Rocky, is mistakenly killed in the gun battle by his own men, and Rogers is later arrested in town when his signature appears, with Sloan's, on the stolen land deeds, having been originally written in invisible ink.