Stagecoach Driver


1951

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 15, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Frontier Pictures; Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States; Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, CA, United States; Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, California, United States; Hollywood--Keywest Studios, CA, United States

Synopsis

In the mid-1800's, Whip Wilson is assigned to manage the Arizona and California division of the Pony Express, while his old friend, Jim Bannon, controls the Prescott Stage Company in the same area with business partner Bill Prescott. While Jim and Whip are at the Red Rock post office one day, businessman George Barnes forecasts that mail revenues will drop sharply once telegraph lines are installed in the West, thus sparking a rivalry between the Pony Express and stagecoach lines. Postmistress Katie Cassidy then remarks that the stage will probably secure the non-telegraph business. Assuming that the Pony Express will fail, Barnes has bribed Pony Express officials to turn over the rights to their route for the stage line syndicate he owns with lawyer Larry Edwards. To gain control of the Prescott Stage Company, Barnes and Edwards plan to frame Jim and Prescott for causing the Pony Express to fail. To accomplish this, they trick Rusty Farrel, a Prescott employee, into joining a raid on the Pony Express horses. After Rusty is shot and killed in the raid, Slim, a Pony Express rider, identifies Rusty as a Prescott employee and tells Whip that he suspects Jim and Prescott are leading a conspiracy against the Pony Express. As Whip and Jim search for the missing horses, they are ambushed by Barnes's henchmen. Whip subdues one of the men, whom Jim identifies as Red Collins, a disloyal Prescott employee. While Jim is escorting Red to the sheriff, Barnes kills Red and makes it seem that Jim committed the murder. As Barnes had planned, Red's death prompts the sheriff to surmise that Prescott and Jim killed Rusty and Red to destroy evidence proving their guilt in the Pony Express raid. Soon after, Slim finds Prescott dead at his ranch with Jim's name written in the sand beside the body. The sheriff then arrests Jim for Prescott's murder. Later the next week, Katie's young daughter Sue, who has been working as a bookkeeper for the Prescott Stage Company, informs Whip that stage foreman Sam Jenkins, who is secretly in league with Barnes and Edwards, has stopped the stage runs for ten days, claiming the drivers are due back wages. Whip fires Jenkins when he refuses to order the drivers back to work even after Whip promises to pay their back wages. With Sue's help, Whip locates Prescott's contract, which states that if the stage does not run for fourteen consecutive days, the rights to the franchise will be forfeited. With only four days left, Whip leaves to investigate the stage lines throughout the area. A few days later, at Prescott's murder trail, Slim testifies against Jim, mentioning Prescott's handwritten message condemning Jim as his murderer. Whip arrives just in time to prove that Prescott was unable to write, exhibiting the contract Prescott signed with an "X" as evidence. On the basis of the new evidence, Jim is set free. Whip then tells Jim, Tex and Kate that Barnes owns a stage syndicate, which is forcing stage lines throughout the West to close. After Katie insists on lending Jim the necessary capital to keep his stage line in business, Whip asks Edwards to draw up papers authorizing Whip to withdraw the money in Mesa City. Later, Whip is on the trail returning to Red Rock supposedly carrying the money, when Jenkins shoots him and Whip falls to the ground, feigning to be dead. Jenkins then reaches for Whip's saddlebag, but Whip surprises Jenkins and forces him to ride back to town at gunpoint. Later, in a ruse devised by Whip, Sue reveals to Edwards that Katie will be arriving with the money on the next stage. To assure that Edwards believe Sue, Whip forces Jenkins to tell Edwards and Barnes that Whip's saddlebags were empty. At Barnes's office, after Barnes and Edwards inform Jenkins that Katie now is carrying the money, they plan to rob her. After overhearing the plans for the robbery, Whip, accompanied by Jim and Tex, fights and subdues Jenkins, while Jim and Tex hold Barnes and Edwards at gunpoint. Jenkins then promises to testify that Barnes and Edwards bribed Pony Express officials for the rights to their route and were responsible for the deaths of Rusty, Red and Prescott. Days later, Jim has secured the mail contract, thus insuring the survival of the stage company.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 15, 1951
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Frontier Pictures; Monogram Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States; Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, CA, United States; Chatsworth--Iverson's Ranch, California, United States; Hollywood--Keywest Studios, CA, United States

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Actor Barbara Allen, who plays the character "Katie Cassidy," is also known as Barbara Wooddell, a name under which she is credited in some reviews. The film's onscreen credits are followed by a written prologue describing the historical location and context for film's story. The film was partially shot on location at Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, CA.