Cast & Crew
Determined to prove that he can be an asset to his father's meatpacking firm, Steve Norris persuades Brown, a cattle buyer, to let him try to convince the ranchers in the Santa Ynez Valley to sell their cattle to Norris rather than his competitor, Bannister. Along the road, Steve stops to ask directions from Miguel Gonzales, who explains that the palomino colt with him is The Duke, grandson of the famous palomino stallion, El Rey. Steve explains his mission, and Miguel suggests that he talk to Maria Guevara, whose family has been in the valley for two hundred years. When Steve arrives at the ranch, Maria whispers that a new foal is about to be born and, because of a superstition that a stranger can change a foal's color, asks him to stay away from the barn. Steve readily agrees, but later, accidentally walks by the barn, and when the foal is born black, Maria blames him and orders him away. Steve is forced to remain at the ranch, however, when his car has a flat tire, and as a result, he and Maria become friends. Maria reveals that she hopes to return to raising the palominos that made the ranch famous when her father was alive. Palominos are more valuable than ordinary horses, she explains, but because they are a color, not a breed, there is no way to ensure that a horse will be born a palomino. El Rey, the palomino stallion who sired many palomino colts, disappeared five years earlier after her father's death. Although Miguel believes that El Rey is still alive on El Monte, the nearby mountain, Maria is sure that their only hope for the future is The Duke. Later, Maria suggests that Steve approach Ben Lane who, as one of the newest ranchers in the valley, might be more willing to sell his cattle to Norris. Lane quickly agrees to sell Steve his cattle, but when Steve offers to hunt down some troublesome wild animals on El Monte, Lane suddenly changes his mind and sends Steve out of town. Lane, who has befriended Maria, actually stole El Rey and hid him on El Monte and has been selling his foals in the East. During a roundup on Maria's ranch, one of Lane's colts gets loose, and Maria mistakes him for The Duke. In an effort to help, Steve ropes the horse and inadvertently breaks its neck. Maria believes that he has killed The Duke, and Lane, who is lurking nearby, decides to take advantage of her mistake to kidnap The Duke. Later, Miguel, who had charge of The Duke, gets drunk with Steve, and Steve discovers that the colt was killed before Miguel lost The Duke. The two men then decide to search for the missing colt and bring along some mares to attract El Rey. During the night, Lane and his men spot Miguel and Steve and free the mares. Later, Miguel notices that the hobble he put on one of the mares has been cut and correctly assumes that someone moved the mares so that they would not attract El Rey. Steve and Miguel then return to El Monte, where they find the missing stallion. After Steve sends Miguel to fetch Maria, Lane plots an "accident" for him, but the trap catches one of Lane's men instead. Finally, Miguel persuades a skeptical Maria to come with him to El Monte, but when Steve tells Maria that Lane tried to kill him, she refuses to believe him. Anxious to avoid discovery, Lane decides to ship all his horses East that night. Maria and Steve see the herd, but she is still not convinced that Lane is stealing the horses. Later, Lane tries to kill El Rey when the stallion attacks him, but is stopped by Steve. Maria is finally assured of Lane's guilt when she identifies Lane's brand on the mares. After Lane is arrested, Maria decides to leave El Rey in the mountains and bring her mares to him. Now that the future of her ranch is assured, Maria proposes to Steve, pointing out that everyone in the valley will gladly sell cattle to her husband.
The viewed print was less than half the length of the released film. Some plot information was obtained from reviews.