powered by AFI
DVDs from TCM Shop
Upon his graduation from Harvard in 1896, Eastern dandy Junior Potter is sent West by his fiancée Penelope to collect his inheritance. Meanwhile, a rash of stagecoach robberies by an outlaw gang led by a masked bandit known as "The Torch" is plaguing California's gold country, so Governor Freedman calls for federal aid, which comes in the form of government agents Roy Rogers and Doc Lovejoy. Posing as medicine show performers, Roy and Doc arrive in the California town of Sawbuck Pass the same day Junior appears in his new automobile. After hitting Doc's wagon with his out-of-control jalopy, which then knocks Roy and his horse Trigger into the mud, Junior is threatened with "the hoosegow" until he announces that he is the son of the infamous Indian fighter, Paleface Potter. At the reading of his father's will, however, Junior learns that Paleface thought of him as "an idiot" and left him seemingly little more than an empty chest. Realizing that the townspeople will kill him, as they expect him to pay Paleface's long outstanding debts out of his inheritance, Junior pretends that the chest is filled with gold and promises to make good on all claims against his father in two days. The townspeople are not Junior's only problem, however, as the local Indian tribe, led by Chief Yellow Cloud, seek to kill Junior to avenge the murderous acts of his father. Deserted by Penelope, Junior attempts to sneak out of town that night, only to be stopped by Ebeneezer Hawkins, his father's old prospecting partner. Ebeneezer convinces Junior that Paleface hid his fortune before returning to Boston and urges the college graduate to think of any hints his father may have given him as to its whereabouts. Soon thereafter, Junior falls in love with Mike Del Roy, the beautiful and wealthy owner of the Dirty Shame saloon, who is also The Torch. Mike agrees to date Junior in order to gain access to his father's gold, while Junior plans to marry her so that he can use her money to pay off Paleface's debts. In the meantime, Roy uncovers Mike's dual identity and asks the governor to reinstate the gold shipments, hoping to trap The Torch and her gang in the act. To that end, Roy serenades Mike, while Doc files a mark in one of her horse's shoes in order to track her movements. The federal agents' plan seems to work, as The Torch and her gang hold up the stage that night, but Mike has a seemingly air-tight alibi in her new fiancé Junior, who thinks she was with him all evening. Junior is unaware, however, that Mike drugged his drink and he was actually asleep in her room during the holdup. The next morning, Junior finds a note in the false bottom of his father's chest, but Ebeneezer takes it from him before he can read its contents. Escaping the angry townspeople, Junior heads to Sterling City to meet up with Ebeneezer, but his car breaks down in the middle of the desert. Two days later, Junior finally arrives in the ghost town, only to find the old prospector murdered, having been killed by Kirk, the chief henchman of Mike's gang. Meanwhile, Mike breaks out of jail and arrives in Sterling City. Though she originally intended to leave Junior there to be killed by the approaching Indians, Roy convinces her that the governor will reduce her sentence if she offers her full cooperation, as he has learned that her father's fortune was stolen by Paleface. During the ensuing Indian attack, Junior is visited by the ghost of his father, who gives him the courage to help Roy and Mike fight off the marauders. A stray bullet then strikes a mounted mouse head, emptying it of Paleface's hidden gold. When Junior and Mike leave Sterling City in his car to seek help, the Indians follow them. Meanwhile, Roy returns to Sawbuck Pass just in time to single-handedly capture Kirk and the rest of The Torch's gang. Making a wrong turn, Junior drives his car off a gorge, but when Mike promises to marry him, he opens an umbrella and the vehicle safely flies to the other side. Years later, Junior waits with Roy outside the state prison for Mike's release, and the faithful husband is united with his wife and his four young sons.