Stranger from Santa Fe


57m 1945

Brief Synopsis

U.S. Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie (Johnny Mack Brown), traveling incognito while on his way to deal with a rustler gang that is ruining the Earley ranch, is forced by a masked Cy Manning (John Merton) to hold up a stage. Marcia Earley (Beatrice Gray), daughter of the dead owner, turns the ranch over to Nevada despite the protests of Ned Grimes (Jack Ingram), secret head of the rustling gang, who is trying to get control of the ranch. U.S. Marshal Sandy Hopkins (Raymond Hatton), Nevada's partner, arrives at the ranch in time to save Nevada's life who is in a gun battle with the rustlers. Ranch cowhand Dan kills Manning, the foreman of the ranch in league with the gang. Nevada is identified as the stage robber,and he and Dan are both jailed.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 15, 1945
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Apr 1945
Production Company
Great Western Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Pilgrim Ramrod for Hell's Range" by Charles N. Heckelmann in Big-Book Western (Oct 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
4,838ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

On the road outside Red Lake, New Mexico, outlaw Cy Manning forces a passing stranger to participate in a stagecoach holdup. During the robbery, the masked Manning kills one of the drivers, while the stranger, his face exposed, steals a money bag and grabs the rings off a female passenger. Unknown to the stranger, the woman is in cahoots with Manning, having signaled to him as the coach was approaching. Manning then leaves the stranger horseless and rides off to join his partner. The stranger retrieves his horse and heads for the Bar X ranch. There, he shows owner Marsha Earley a letter sent by her father just before he was murdered, stating that his old friend, Roy Ferris, is to oversee the Bar X, which is in danger of foreclosure due to rustling. Identifying himself as Roy, the stranger also explains that, according to the will that her father had sent him, Marsha is prohibited from selling the place. Marsha accepts Roy as her new foreman, but Ned Grimes, her suitor and the owner of the neighboring Circle G, is wary of him. Roy quickly fires two cowboys who resist his orders and rehires Dan Murray, a hand that the previous foreman, Manning, had dismissed. One of the fired hands then tries to shoot Roy, but wandering cowboy Sandy Hopkins stops him, and Roy rewards him with a job. When Manning appears at the ranch, Roy recognizes him from the holdup and confronts him outside the ranch house. Manning immediately goes for his gun, but Dan, who is standing nearby, shoots him dead. Just then, Dan and Roy spot a suspicious-looking rider near the house and pursue him. The rider eludes them, however, and reports Manning's death to Grimes and his sister Dale, the woman from the stagecoach, who have been plotting to take over the Circle G. Meanwhile, Marsha, having witnessed the shooting, sends Sandy for the sheriff, but Sandy instead joins up with Roy and Dan. Roy then reveals to Dan that he is actually U.S. Marshal Nevada McKenzie and, with help from fellow lawman Sandy, is impersonating Roy. Nevada, who suspects that Manning was installed as foreman so that the Bar X could be rustled, returns to the ranch with Dan. There, the two are arrested by the sheriff after Dale identifies Nevada as the unmasked robber and Marsha implicates Dan in Manning's death. Aware that Marsha has agreed to marry Grimes later that day, Nevada and Dan, who is in love with Marsha, soon trick the sheriff and break out of the Red Lake jail. Having seen the rings he took from Dale back on her fingers, Nevada then sneaks into the telegraph office to check for incriminating messages and finds one that she sent to Manning's partner on the day of the holdup. Armed with this information, Nevada races to the Circle G, while Dan goes to the Bar X to stop the wedding. At gunpoint, Dan locks up Grimes and forces a confused Marsha to leave with him. Grimes is soon freed by the unsuspecing sheriff, however, and volunteers to fetch his men for the posse. At the Circle G, Nevada surprises Dale and Grimes's men and, after gunning down one of the outlaws, goes to the barn to search for the stagecoach money. Sandy, meanwhile, joins up with Dan and Marsha on the way to the Circle G, but Grimes arrives ahead of them, and brawls with Nevada in the barn. When Sandy, Marsha and Dan show up, Dan and Sandy become embroiled in a gunfight with Grimes's men, while Marsha fights with Dale. Nevada finally knocks Grimes out and then corners his men just as the posse arrives. After Nevada shows the sheriff his marshal's badge, he returns the stolen money and points out the rings on Dale's fingers, which the surviving stage driver recognizes as the stolen jewelry. Convinced, the sheriff arrests Grimes and his gang and frees Dan. Later, Sandy and Nevada bid the just-married Dan and Marsha goodbye.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 15, 1945
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 12 Apr 1945
Production Company
Great Western Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the short story "Pilgrim Ramrod for Hell's Range" by Charles N. Heckelmann in Big-Book Western (Oct 1944).

Technical Specs

Duration
57m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
4,838ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a November 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item, C. J. Bigelow was to supervise this production. Modern sources add Eddie Parker to the cast. For more information on the "Nevada McKenzie" series, for The Ghost Rider and consult the Series Index.