Cast & Crew
Soon after railroad detectives Chito Rafferty and Rocky board a train in Arizona, it is robbed by a gang of masked bandits, who make off with a shipment of express company money. Rocky is about to shoot one of the fleeing robbers when fellow passenger Jane Preston deliberately ruins his shot by jostling his arm. Upon arriving at the next stop, Wagontongue, Rocky and Chito report to Doab, the local banker, who angrily discharges them for losing his money. Determined to retrieve the money, Rocky questions Jane about her behavior on the train, but Jane, who has just returned from the East, insists that the jostle was accidental. Overhearing Rocky's charges, Jane's brother Ashton engages him in a fistfight, which Rocky quickly wins. Later, while Rocky rides out to investigate the robbery area, girl-crazy Chito stays in town to watch Slagle, a bank cashier whom Rocky suspects is working with the outlaws. Near the robbery site, Rocky comes across an unusual horseshoe print, as well as a piece of torn cloth. Back in the Wagontongue saloon, Chito eavesdrops on a conversation between Slagle and Cinnabar, the leader of the outlaws, and convinces singer Helen Baxter to cozy up to Slagle and coax information out of him. The next day, Rocky encounters rancher Rand Curtis, who tells him that his son Range became mixed up in Ash's dubious activities and disappeared one day near the Preston ranch in Sunset Pass. Rocky then sees a black horse roaming the Preston range and recognizes it as belonging to the robber he almost shot. At the Preston ranch house, meanwhile, Jane drills her brother about the holdup, and Ash finally confesses that he became involved in Cinnabar's gang to pay for her boarding school and repay some debts. Having captured the black horse, Rocky bursts into the ranch house and forces Ash to admit that he is the animal's owner. Rocky then matches the piece of cloth he found at the robbery site with Ash's torn hatband and accuses him of the holdup. Rocky tries to convince Ash to reveal the money's whereabouts, but Ash refuses to cooperate. As Rocky is escorting Ash back to Wagontongue, he is shot by Cinnabar, who overheard Rocky's interrogation at the ranch house. Ash returns fires, scaring Cinnabar off, then takes Rocky back to the ranch house, where he and Jane tend to his wound. While delirious with fever, Rocky calls out Chito's name, prompting Ash to ride to town to find the detective. Before Ash can speak with Chito, Cinnabar threatens to implicate Ash in Range's murder, a crime Cinnabar actually committed, if he tries to leave the gang. As Chito eavesdrops, Cinnabar then tells Ash that he buried the money under one of the Prestons' many cottonwood trees. Chito goes with Ash to Rocky's side, and two weeks later, Rocky has recovered enough to take Ash for trial in Tucson. Anxious to help the repentant Ash, Rocky gives him another chance to talk, but Ash remains silent. Chito, meanwhile, stumbles upon the stolen money when Helen becomes stuck in Cinnabar's cottonwood tree. Rocky then insists that Ash return the money directly to Doab, who is impressed by Ash's honesty and tells him and Slagle about a replacement shipment of money that has just arrived. Slagle reports the news to Cinnabar, who plots to steal the money by telling Curtis that Range is buried on Preston land and inciting the townsmen to form a posse. After Range's body is found, an enraged Curtis accuses Ash of killing his son. Ash, however, convinces Curtis that Range was killed by Cinnabar because he knew too much. Ash then informs Rocky and Chito about the new money shipment, and the detectives race to town to stop the gang from robbing the bank. After a fierce fight, Rocky and Chito apprehend all of the outlaws. Later, Rocky exonerates Ash and accepts Jane's marriage proposal, while Chito remembers that he left Helen dangling in the cottonwood and dashes off to rescue her.
Samuel E. Beetley
Lucius O. Croxton
Albert S. D'agostino
Earl B. Mounce
Jean L. Speak
Vernon L. Walker
Zane Grey's novel Sunset Pass was published serially in American Magazine, beginning in April 1928. Although actor John Laurenz sings a third song in this film, its title and composer have not been identified. It is possible that Laurenz, who also wrote songs, was the composer. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Edward Killy was first slated to direct the film. Hollywood Reporter also noted that exteriors for Sunset Pass were shot in Lone Pine, CA. Paramount produced two earlier versions of Grey's novel, both titled Sunset Pass. The first was released in 1929, and was directed by Otto Brower and starred Jack Holt (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.5473). Henry Hathaway directed the second, which was made in 1933 with Tom Keene and Randolph Scott (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4404). Despite their common source, the plots of the three versions bear little resemblance to one another.
Released in United States Fall October 1, 1946
Released in United States Fall October 1, 1946