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The Yellow Mountain

The Yellow Mountain(1954)

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Upon arriving in Goldfield, Nevada during the gold rush, Andy Martin's first act is to find his old partner, Pete Menlo, and punch him in the face. Although Pete is an important businessman, he shoos away all efforts to help, and engages in a spirited fistfight that ends when he knocks Andy out. Hours later, Andy revives and insists upon repayment of $12,000, his half of the gold claim Pete ran off with years earlier. Just then, competing miner Bannon barges into Pete's office complaining that Pete has just purchased the mine shafts he was planning to buy, and threateningly offers a partnership that will result in the two men owning the entire south face of Columbia Mountain. Andy suddenly declares himself Pete's partner, and shoots the gun out of the hand of Bannon's henchman Drake. Within days, Pete puts Andy to work running his saloon casino, where Andy soon discovers that Pete has backed out of a promise to his girl friend, local assayer Nevada Wray, to keep her father, Jackpot, from gambling away his only possession, the deed to his worthless mine. Nevada storms into the saloon office, but Pete, as always, placates her with lies that he will increase security. After she leaves, Pete convinces Andy to serve as manager for a promising new mine, and Andy agrees to do so in exchange for half ownership. Soon after, Andy strikes gold, and brings it to Nevada for assaying. Intrigued by his flirtatiousness, Nevada agrees to visit the mine, and when a jealous Pete sees the two together, he wins Nevada's admiration by offering to stake Jackpot's claim. Pete plans to back out of the stake, but after he sees Nevada kiss Andy at a party that evening, he presents the money to Jackpot, again confusing Nevada with his apparent kindheartedness. The next day, all of Pete and Andy's workers are lured away by Bannon, who then, over the following weeks, continues to raise wages every time Pete and Andy match his. Soon, Pete is running out of money, and his only option is to smelt his already mined gold and cash it in, a job that takes several men. Andy insists he can accomplish the smelting on his own and transport it that night. That afternoon, however, Pete's new lawyer, the shifty Geraghty, sells this information to Bannon, who sends Drake to ambush Andy on the trail. Meanwhile, at the mine, Bannon causes a cave-in that traps several men. When Pete arrives ready to fight him, Bannon distracts him by convincing him to join forces, receive backing from a financier and split the huge profit. Later, Nevada turns down Pete's marriage proposal, explaining that she does not love him. Andy, who has been beaten on the trail by Drake and his men, struggles back to town and, assuming his friends have set him up, punches Pete and turns his back on Nevada. That night, Jackpot loses a poker game to Andy and hands over the deed to his mine. In the back room, Pete learns that Geraghty was behind Andy's beating, and the drunken lawyer confesses that the Apex Law decrees that his gold, since it is actually part of a vein, belongs to the owner of the mine that contains the apex of the vein. Realizing that the apex lies in Jackpot's claim, Pete goes to the Wrays' and there discovers that Andy now owns the mine. Meanwhile, Andy leaves the saloon and is beaten by Drake again and brought to Bannon, who tries to buy the mine. Suspicious, Andy goes to Nevada's, where she falls into his arms. They race to the mine, along with Jackpot, trying to discern why everyone suddenly wants to buy it, and with the first detonation, find gold. They then run to the registration office, but Drake has been spying on them and now notifies Bannon. Pete hears Bannon's plan to blow up the mine and, refusing to acquiesce, is beaten by Drake. Bannon and Drake stop Andy's wagon, and Andy is forced to shoot down Drake in the street. Bannon grabs Jackpot and prepares to shoot Andy, but just then, Pete emerges from his office and kills Bannon, proclaiming their partnership disbanded. Later, the claim is registered and Andy and Nevada begin to plan their wedding. When Pete arrives to congratulate them, the two old friends happily begin a fistfight.