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The Rough, Tough West

The Rough, Tough West(1952)

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Cowboy Steve Holden arrives in the western town of Hard Rock, seeking his old friend from the Texas Rangers, Big Jack Mahoney. Unknown to Steve, Jack owns most of the town and with his ruthless henchman Fulton, brings pressure against local gold miners who refuse to deal with him. Miner Jordan MacCrea has volunteered to kill Jack and lurks about the saloon waiting for the opportunity. Steve meets Jack at the saloon, where Jack's girl friend Carolina sings, but when Jack asks Steve to work for him, he refuses. Later, Carolina notices old timer Pete Walker losing the last of his money gambling and tells Jack, who prevents Pete from killing himself. Jack then pays Pete twice his loss for use of the old man's land. After Jordan takes a shot at Jack and misses, Jack convinces Steve to remain in Hard Rock as marshal. The next day Jack takes young Buzz Barett, who is disabled, on their daily ride together. Angry over the local newspaper's attack on Jack, Fulton asks Steve to close down the paper's office, which is run by Buzz's grandmother Matty. Steve refuses and Fulton bullies Matty until Jordan intervenes. When the men get into a fistfight, The Durango Kid, Steve's secret alter-ego, breaks it up. That evening Jack proposes to Carolina, presenting her with an enormous diamond ring and a fancy dinner. Steve stops by to ask Jack if he ordered Fulton to harass Matty, and Jack admits he wants her to retire. Annoyed by Steve's questioning, Jack parts with him on bad terms. A few days later, Jordan and the miners bring their gold ore down the mountain but discover that the only road into town, which cuts through Pete's property, is being blocked at Jack's command. In order to pass, the miners must pay a toll of ten percent of the value of their ore. Fulton and several of his men ride up to enforce the toll, and Steve tells the miners that the fee is legal. That night the miners meet and decide to cross the toll line by force. Before they leave, however, Durango appears and assures them if they refrain from violence, he will get their ore through legally without paying the fee. The next day Fulton reports to Jack that he has discovered that Durango plans to bring the ore down the mountain on pack mules. Fulton wants to attack the mule train, but Jack tells him just to find out their route. Buzz is disappointed when Jack tells him he does not have the time to ride with him later that day and goes out alone. Spotting him, Fulton and some of his men try to kidnap the boy to get Matty to tell them about the ore route, but Durango thwarts their plan. Back in town, Fulton plies Pete with liquor to discover the route. Buzz overhears Fulton and Jack's plan to attack the train and rides out to warn the miners, but is too late. Fulton's men attack the mule train and Durango is unable to prevent their seizing the gold and wounding Buzz. Later when Jack expresses concern over Buzz's injury, Matty rejects his assistance, causing Jack to reconsider his previous actions in Hard Rock. Frustrated at being used by Jack against the miners, Pete considers killing him, but Fulton kills Pete instead. Fulton advises Jack that they should leave town and is outraged when Jack announces his intention to return the gold. The two fight and Fulton wounds Jack before fleeing. Steve corners Fulton and his men on one end of town, and before being subdued, Fulton sets fire to the newspaper building, where the wounded Buzz lies unconscious. Jack enters the burning building to rescue Buzz, but is overcome by smoke and his wound. Steve rescues them both. The fire spreads, burning down the town, but Jack promises to rebuild Hard Rock with a community spirit.