Cast & Crew
In the mountains outside the town of Red Rock, crooked sheep rancher Steve Doak hires a henchman named Wyoming to shoot Jim Butler, one of cattle rancher Bill Prescott's men. Doak hopes that Prescott will blame fellow cattleman Tex Williams for the murder and revive an old feud, thus allowing the sheep ranchers to capitalize on the disputes and take over the land. In town later that day, Wyoming and Doak stir up trouble by lying to the new sheriff, Smokey Rogers, that Tex shot Butler, and inciting the townsmen to take Prescott's side against Tex. Smokey brings Tex's co-worker, Deuce, to Tex's Lazy W Ranch to warn him of Doak's subterfuge, and when Tex and Smokey go out to the range, they see Wyoming shoot Prescott in the arm. They rescue the rancher, who believes Tex, and after Smokey reveals that unusual horseshoe prints at the scene of the crime match Wyoming's broken horseshoe, he and Tex go to town to arrest Wyoming. There, Doak and fellow sheep herder Pete Green think of a scheme to lead the cattlemen, via signal fires, into a trap in the canyon so they can move their sheep herd into the range land unimpeded. As part of their plan to kill Wyoming before he can talk, Green then goes to the jail and slips Wyoming a gun loaded with blanks. When the hired killer shoots at Tex moments later, Smokey immediately shoots him. Before he dies, Wyoming realizes he has been set up and reveals Doak's plot to Tex and Smokey, who rush to the canyon to head off the cattle ranchers. A gunfight with Doak's men breaks out, and when the ranchers, who have been following Doak's phony signal fires, hear the gun shots, they stop short of the trap. They instead join Tex and Smokey in time to shoot Doak and Green and capture the rest of their gang.
Rancher Buck Williams, head of the Free Rangers, a law-abiding organization that includes Buck's friends Deuce and Smokey, is working to capture the notorious Al Carter gang. Carter is caught but breaks free from jail just as Buck adopts the outlaw's young son Tex in order to give him a chance at life as a Ranger. Twenty years later, Buck receives news that the government is considering disbanding the Rangers in favor of the state police. Buck leaves Tex, who much admires his now elderly adoptive father's career, in charge as he travels to Washington. Investigating what he thinks is a gang of rustlers on the plains, Tex has his men round up horses that actually belong to rancher Beth Andrews. Although she is at first angry, she relents after learning that they are Rangers and accepts Tex's offer to ride along with her for "protection." Tex reluctantly leaves her when her foreman, Jed Newman, joins them on the range. A few weeks later, after Buck returns from his successful Washington trip, the Rangers are plagued by a rash of train robberies. When the next train comes in, Tex tries to guard it, but Newman and his henchmen, Spike and Rufe Lambert, who are behind the robberies, discover his plan and attack the train before the Rangers can react. Inspecting the site of the robberies, Tex discovers a thrown horseshoe and Tex tracks the horse's distinctive prints to Newman. Hiding Newman's treachery from Beth, Tex agrees to accompany her to town. Meanwhile, Smokey recognizes Newman as Al Carter, and warns Buck that Tex should not be put in the position of having to kill his own father. As Buck heads to Beth's ranch to confront Newman, Newman plots to distract Tex so Rufe can rob the local Wells Fargo bank. Newman misdirects Tex into Rocky Canyon to trail some "horse rustlers," just as Smokey and Deuce learn that Rufe and his gang are also riding into the canyon and give chase. Soon after, Buck arrives at Beth's ranch and is immediately shot in the arm by Carter. When Buck reveals to the outlaw that Tex is his son, however, Carter insists that Buck never tell Tex his real identity, then rides off to save Tex from Rufe. When he reaches the canyon, Carter gives his life to save his son and dies happily after he hears Tex praise his bravery. Days later, Smokey, Deuce and Buck leave Tex in the arms of his new wife, Beth.
Leslie I. Carey
Russell A. Gausman
Norton S. Parker
Charles Van Enger
Tales of the West 1 was a compilation of two three-reel films, Cactus Caravan and South of Santa Fe, both of which were released earlier in 1950. According to the The Exhibitor review, the two short films were linked together with spoken narration and footage of an uncredited actor playing a stagecoach driver who describes the exploits of the character "Tex Williams." Although a print of the film was not available, plot and credit information was taken from cutting continuities of both shorts, as well as reviews of the shorts and the feature. Unless otherwise noted, the credits above pertain to both of the short films. No copyright information exists for Tales of the West, but, as noted above, there is an entry in the Copyright Catalog for Cactus Caravan. Universal made three additional Tales of the West compilations, ending with the 1951 release, Tales of the West 4.