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Smoky Canyon

Smoky Canyon(1952)

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FULL SYNOPSIS

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Outside the town of Timber Rock, Montana, Cattlemen's Association head Carl Buckley and Roberta "Rob" Woodstock, who are dismayed over recent legal rulings that favor sheepmen and their herds, decide that a range war is the only way to defend their interests. Soon the war rages, and both cattlemen and sheepmen are killed. When shepherd Johnny Big Foot is attacked, fugitive Jack Mahoney intervenes, only to be chased away by Sheriff Bogart and his men. A masked stranger, The Durango Kid, the alter ego of Steve Brent, steers Bogart's posse away, allowing Jack to take Johnny to Mr. Wyler, the head of the sheepmen. Later, Steve arrives in Timber Rock looking for work, but refuses Rob's job offer, considering it demeaning to work for a woman. Soon after, Durango sends a note to Buckley, demanding the attacks on the sheepman stop. At the same time, Smiley Burnette, a local tour guide, sends a message to Jack via sheepman Spade, who is secretly working for Buckley. Jack evades the cattlemen to see Smiley, and Durango also arrives to discover why Jack is wanted. Jack explains that he and Rob, his former fiancée, were concerned about her father Jim, who was head of the Cattlemen's Association, as Jack had just been elected territory representative of the sheepmen. The same evening that Jack was to meet Jim to discuss the wedding, Jim was shot through an open window in his office. Jack discovered the body and shot at the assailant, but Bogart and Buckley have accused him of the killing. After Jack admits he is hiding out in Smoky Canyon with a growing number of sheepman who were run out of business by the range war, Durango vows to help the sheepmen and clear Jack. As Buckley's men continue to terrorize the sheepmen and set fire to their grazing land, Jack and his men want to retaliate, but Durango urges them to wait. Buckley frets over the pause in the range war, for he is in league with an Eastern syndicate that wants to keep the conflict going to maintain the high price of beef. Buckley then burns Rob's land and several cattle, making it appear to be the work of the sheepmen. After Steve, Bogart and Buckley visit Rob, and Buckley claims to have witnessed Durango setting the fire, Rob hires Steve to go after Durango, and he agrees. Later, when Johnny's body is dumped on Wyler's ranch with a warning note from the cattlemen, Jack assumes Steve is responsible. Spade slips into town to report Jack's intention to go after Steve, and Rob sees him going into Bogart's office. She forces her way into the meeting and discovers Steve, Buckley, Spade and Bogart planning to apprehend Jack for the reward. Worried that she may be viewed as soft on Jack, Rob adds another $500 to the reward money, then rides out to find and warn him. Steve, Buckley and his men ride toward Smoky Canyon, where Steve insists on going in alone to seize Jack. Having spotted the men from his lookout, Jack ambushes Steve, and when Rob rides up, she finds them in the middle of a fistfight. She knocks out Steve before he can warn them about Buckley, then urges Jack to flee. Back at Buckley's office, he and Rob find Durango, who accuses Buckley of working for the syndicate. Durango takes Buckley's record book to pass on to the U.S. Marshal. To heighten the range war, Buckley prepares to set off explosives and cause a massive stampede that will be blamed on the sheepmen. Meanwhile, Jack risks capture to see Rob to ask why she helped him, and she admits to still caring for him. He reveals that Buckley, not Durango, set the latest grazing land blaze and that Jim was murdered for having discovered Buckley's association with the syndicate. Jack and Rob search for Buckley, but are intercepted by his henchmen and taken to Bogart. Jack tries to stop Buckley's plan, but the blasts go off, causing a massive stampede. Durango rescues Rob and Jack while Buckley and Bogart are crushed in the ensuing landslide. After Spade makes a full confession about Buckley's involvement in Jim's murder, Jack is cleared and made sheriff. Durango reveals his identity to Rob so she will prevent Jack from hunting down Steve, then wishes the couple a happy future.