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Wildcat Wildcatter Johnny Maverick... MORE > $6.95 Regularly $6.98 Buy Now


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DVDs from TCM Shop

Wildcat Wildcatter Johnny Maverick... MORE > $6.95
Regularly $6.98
buy now

Johnny Maverick, a slick itinerant oil worker, picks up hitchhiker Harold Nevins, a naïve youth from Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, and takes him to the town of Hurliville. There, Johnny introduces "Chicopee" to his friends, Watchfob Jones and Grits O'Malley, and buys them all dinner with money he collects for "charity." Johnny is determined to find oil because two competing oil companies are offering $25,000 to the first person who drills a new oil well. When Johnny and Chicopee find oil in a stream on farm land, Johnny makes Chicopee his partner and leases the land from the farmers, the Smithers, then subleases half of the property to Gus Sloane for twice the amount of his original lease. After building the tower and drill, Chicopee is killed when he goes up on the rig to release some cable, and Mike Rawlins, Sloane's partner who previously earned Johnny's enmity by shortchanging him on a job, maliciously sends a truck crashing into the rig. Although the superstitious oil workers believe the rig is ill-fated, a remorseful Johnny insists on continuing their work. A couple of con artists, Nan Dearing and Oliver Westbrook, see an article on Chicopee's death and capitalize on his misfortune by sending Nan to the oil rig posing as Chicopee's sister. Johnny allows Nan to take over Chicopee's partnership, and she stays on at the site. Later, Oliver is hired as a handyman, and no one suspects his association with Nan. When the well collapses, Johnny's crew plans to desert him, but Nan convinces them not to give up. Nan then convinces Oliver, who sees that she is falling in love with Johnny, to pawn his ring and gamble the cash to help Johnny raise money to buy new machinery. When Johnny then tries to buy more equipment, he finds that Rawlins has bought the last lot. Johnny does not have enough money to buy more expensive casings and sells the store owner, Joseph D. Campbell, an interest in the oil well to get them. After a month, Rawlins buys the note from Campbell and confronts Johnny, revealing Nan's and Oliver's true identities and his plan to call the note in at midnight. In order to produce the oil before Rawlins buys him out, Johnny throws nitroglycerin down the well and the explosion sends up a gusher. Johnny is jubilant, but his happiness is shortlived because the rig is sabotaged and the oil ignites. Johnny blames Rawlins for the fire and forces him at gunpoint to put it out. Rawlins is unsuccessful and is knocked unconscious by another explosion. Johnny then attempts to put the fire out himself by using a crane to put the cap on the well. A pipe collapses and pins Johnny, and Nan, who returned when she heard about the fire, operates the crane to free Johnny. He successfully caps the rig, which smothers the fire. Johnny realizes Nan truly loves him and they are reunited, after which they become the wealthy owners of several oil rigs.