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Stormy Trails

Stormy Trails(1936)

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When Tom Storm goes to the bank to get an extension on his ranch loan, the bank is robbed by three men, and Tom kills one in self-defense. Before he dies, the robber is identified as Thane, whom Tom had fired from his ranch for horse-thievery and who was suing him. Tom is suspected of murdering Thane deliberately and consults with lawyer Steve Varick, who believes that Tom is being framed by someone who wants his ranch and advises him to watch out for himself. At his ranch, Tom is surprised when his ward, Billy, gives him a shirt as a gift, especially after he sees money falling out of Billy's own shirt, as Billy's only known income is from Tom. When a man is killed just after talking with Tom about the fact that one of the robbers had been wearing a shirt like Billy's, the sheriff approaches Billy, who angrily leaves. Tom follows Billy's trail to the Curlew ranch, where Curlew tells Tom that Billy has been doing outside work to earn extra money and has gone for a ride with his daughter Connie. Varick later advises Tom that the bank will not renew the loan on his ranch because of the suspicions surrounding him. Varick suspects that Curlew and Billy may have been involved in the robbery. Varick talks with Billy, who reveals that Stanton, a real estate speculator, introduced him to Max Durante, a cattle rustler who pays Billy to let him know when he can herd stolen cattle across the Storm ranch without Tom's knowledge. After Varick warns Billy that Stanton is framing him in order to get to Tom, Billy goes to Stanton's hideout and overhears Stanton saying he is putting pressure on the bank not to renew Tom's loan and will try to rustle Tom's cattle. Billy warns Tom's ranchhands, who herd the cattle into a box canyon while Billy fends off the rustlers. Billy is killed by Durante. At an inquest, Tom is declared innocent of the death of one of Stanton's gang, but is then informed of Billy's death, and he, the sheriff and a posse ride out to find the murderous rustlers. When Durante finds Curlew mining for gold he shoots him. Although the posse arrives in time to save Curlew, they lose the rustlers. In order to save his cattle, Tom herds them early, but the rustlers attack and one of Tom's ranchhands is shot. The cattle stampede, and by the next day, Tom is discovered missing. A dazed Tom is found by Durante, who takes him to his hideout, where he is kept hostage. In the meantime, Stanton orders the bank manager, Thurman, to put Tom's ranch up for auction. When Stanton gives Thurman $100,000 to credit to his account, Thurman recognizes the serial numbers as those stolen from his bank and, at the auction, tricks Stanton into openly confessing that the stolen $100,000 belongs to him, after which Stanton is arrested. Durante discovers the money is missing and goes to town to demand Stanton's release from jail, after which he and his gang rob the bank and kill Stanton. Tom escapes and captures Durante, and after Durante is arrested, Tom proposes to Connie.