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Utah Blaine

Utah Blaine(1957)

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Gunslinger Mike "Utah" Blaine saves the life of rancher Joe Neal after a gang of vigilantes strings him up from a tree and leaves him to slowly die. After Utah cuts Neal down, the grateful rancher explains that his assailants have been employed by Russ Nevers, a cold-blooded miscreant bent on stealing all the large spreads in the territory by killing their owners. When Utah learns that Rink Witter, his former partner who double-crossed him, has hired on as Nevers' top gun, Utah accepts Neal's offer to manage his 46 Plus ranch and put an end to Nevers' vigilantism. After signing a legal agreement with Utah, Neal instructs him to ride to the town of Red Creek and contact Ben Kinyon, his old friend. Neal then goes into hiding until the violence is over. Upon arriving in Red Creek, Utah discovers that Kinyon has just been murdered by the vigilantes. When Utah mentions Neal's name, Kinyon's daughter Angie invites him to her ranch, where Utah tells her of his arrangement with Neal. At that moment, Nevers and his thugs arrive and order Angie to leave her property. After Utah informs Nevers that he is the new manager of the 46 Plus, Nevers, surprised that Neal survived the lynching, returns to town to rethink his strategy. The next day, Utah rides to the bank to file his agreement with Neal and finds Nevers and his gang waiting for him. Nevers has convinced Gus Ortmann, a good-natured giant of a man, that gunplay will be averted if Gus can prevent Utah from entering the bank. After unbuckling his guns, Utah accepts Gus's challenge to a fistfight and soundly thrashes the lumbering ox. Witter then trains his gun on Utah, but is thwarted when Utah's old friend, Rip Coker, a shotgun sharpshooter, disarms him with a well-aimed blast. After Utah files his papers, Gus and Coker ride out of town with him and Nevers sends Witter to find and kill Neal. Upon discovering that the foreman of the Bar B ranch is in league with Nevers, Utah warns the ranch's owner, Mary Blake, that her life is in danger. After Mary's horses are stampeded by Nevers' henchmen, Utah accompanies her to Angie's and there advises her that her safety hinges on her immediately leaving the territory. Coker, Gus and Utah then apprehend several of Nevers' men and take them back to town, arriving just as Witter is boasting that he tracked down and killed Neal. A gunfight ensues, and in the crossfire, Gus is wounded and Coker and Utah take him back to Angie's to recover. Soon after, Mary returns with news that Neal bequeathed both Angie and Utah the 46 Plus and that his will has been legally recorded. Mary then tries to convince Utah that many of the decent folk of Red Creek are opposed to the vigilantes and suggests that he form an alliance with them. Soon after, Nevers and his thugs come to Angie's house, prompting Utah and Coker to take cover. When Witter bursts in and threatens Angie, Gus, who has been hiding in the cellar, loads his gun to protect her but is gunned down by Witter. As Utah and Coker fire at Witter, he jumps on his horse and gallops off. Gus's death galvanizes the townsfolk, who agree to join forces with Utah and hold an election to oust Nevers and establish law and order in the territory. When word comes that Nevers plans to round up and sell the Bar B stock the next day, however, they realize it is too late for elections. Instead, Utah plants a story in the paper about his inheritance of the 46 Plus, defiantly stating that the 46 Plus and Bar B will never be broken up. Also in the paper is a prominent advertisement recruiting ranchhands for the 46 Plus. Incensed, Nevers and Witter ride into town and find Utah seated at a desk, waiting to sign up prospective employees. After Utah boasts that he has hired fifty men who are now patrolling the range, Nevers looks up and sees the roofs of the town ringed with armed citizens. In the ensuing gunfight, Utah, with the help of the good people of Red Creek, disarms Nevers and his men. Witters escapes, but in a duel to the end, is pursued and gunned down by Utah. Utah then embraces Angie while Coker hugs Mary.