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The Road to Denver

The Road to Denver(1955)

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In Texas, in the late 1800s, Sam Mayhew bets that he can ride an unruly bronco. When the rodeo judge asked to arbitrate decides against him unfairly, Sam slugs the man and is sentenced to thirty days in jail. Believing that both the judgment and the sentence are unreasonable, Sam's older brother Bill helps him escape. The brothers ride to a Colorado town, and, to avoid the law, change their names from Mayhew to "Steve Webster" and "Tom Blackwell." Immediately after Bill convinces Murdock, a rancher, to hire them, Sam starts a brawl when Murdock insults the Confederate Army. Bill again feels compelled to rescue Sam from the trouble he has caused and the brothers hurriedly leave town. Bill, who has reared his brother since their father died, suggests to Sam that they now go their separate ways, because he is weary of the nomadic life that Sam's trouble-making has forced upon them. In response, Sam accuses Bill of being "bossy," then, threatening to shoot, draws his guns. Unafraid, Bill disarms him, observing that Sam could never shoot his own brother. Upon arriving in Central City, Bill eats at a restaurant and then discovers he is short of cash to pay the bill. When Bill offers to wash dishes to pay for his dinner, his attitude impresses John Sutton, a fellow diner, who then offers him a job at his livery stable. Soon, Bill befriends Whipsaw, an old man employed by John, and begins to court Elizabeth, John's daughter. Sam, still calling himself "Tom Blackwell," comes to town and starts a fight with a card dealer in the saloon. Based on Sam's aggressiveness and gun handling skills, the saloon owner, Jim Donovan, hires him to assist with his other business ventures. When Bill learns that Donovan is forcing local ranchers to sell him livestock cheaply and then reselling them at a profit, Bill warns Sam about his new employer, but Sam scorns his advice. Later, Sam forces a kiss on Elizabeth at a town dance, and Bill takes umbrage, but Elizabeth, unaware that the men are brothers, stops Bill from fighting with Sam, saying he is "just a kid." John has been planning to start a stagecoach line to Denver and has bought several horses for his new venture. The horses are stabled at a nearby ranch and, one day, John sends Bill and Whipsaw to bring them to town. Donovan, who wants to control all money-making ventures in the area, orders three henchmen to prevent the horses from reaching Central City. After Donovan's men scatter the herd, one gunman, Pecos Larry, starts a gunfight. Whipsaw and Bill manage to capture two of the gunmen and round up the animals. Grateful to Bill for saving his horses, John offers him a partnership in the company. Later, Donovan sends Sam and the other men to convince rancher Ed Garrett and his wife to sell their stock. When Ed refuses, Pecos starts firing and Sam shoots the gun out of Pecos' hand. Later in town, Donovan convinces the men to turn themselves in to the sheriff, but suggests that they claim the shooting was in self-defense. After Donovan convinces Garrett to say that he fired first, the gunmen are freed. In the saloon, Bill meets Sam, and offering him a share of the stagecoach business, reminds him that, years ago, Bill had to serve time for killing in self-defense. Sam resents Bill's implication that he should change his ways and argues loudly. Drawn by Sam's behavior, Pecos starts a fight with Bill and tries to shoot him in the back. After Bill outdraws and wounds Pecos, Donovan wonders why Sam failed to come to Pecos' defense. Just before Bill is to make the initial run of the Central City Stage Line to Denver, the company is hired to transport a box of gold dust as part of the delivery. Donovan has come to suspect that Bill and Sam are brothers and decides to use their relationship to his advantage. He orders Sam to write a letter to Bill, asking him to come to Donovan's office. Although Bill is disinclined to take the letter seriously, Elizabeth convinces him to respond to Sam's request, as he has never asked for anything before. In the saloon office, Bill finds Sam with Donovan, who states that he is holding Sam hostage in exchange for the gold and gives him twenty-four hours to hand it over. Bill agrees to Donovan's terms and arranges to have his henchmen meet him at one of the coach stops. At the stopover, Bill switches the gold and hands over a box of rocks to Donovan's men. While the stage delivers the gold to Denver, Bill returns to Donovan's office to save his brother. Sam, believing that Donovan's threats were just a ruse to get the gold, thinks that Bill was a fool to give in so easily. When Donovan discovers he has been hoodwinked, he orders the gang to fight Bill. After shooting Donovan, Bill subdues his men, but then faces Sam in a shootout. Sam draws, but Bill shoots the gun out of his hand. Before Sam can pull his second gun, Bill again outdraws him. Leaving his back an easy target for Sam, Bill turns and walks out of the saloon. Sam follows him and throws his gun into a horse trough. Later, Bill and Elizabeth marry, and the reformed Sam becomes a driver for the stage line.