Cast & Crew
Paul E. Burns
Oil drilling partners Kenny Blake and Hank Mason celebrate starting up their own company with their latest strike bonus of $4,000. At the Black Gold casino, both men happily eye waitress Betsy Abbott, who settles for dining with Hank after she catches a glimpse of his wad of money. Although he promises Kenny that he will have no more than two drinks, Hank nevertheless allows Betsy to ply him with brandy, and when Kenny finds them later that evening, Hank has spent almost all of their money on a worthless lease of land from shady businessman Jim Tolman, who is in league with Betsy. Angered, Kenny starts a fight with the drunken Hank and Tolman, and the men are arrested. The following morning, Kenny and a rueful Hank learn from their cellmate, famed longtime oil driller Cappy Groves, that Tolman has sold the lease several times and no one has ever struck oil. Cappy offers to help the partners financially and upon their release, they examine the property. Using a stick he has already dipped in oil as a guide, Cappy insists he has found oil. With money from Cappy and a stern warning from Kenny, Hank goes into town to rent drilling equipment. Meanwhile, Tolman attempts to pay Betsy off for her part in conniving Hank, but she insists she tried to talk Hank out of the deal. When Hank arrives in town, he is initially angry at Betsy, but soon the two make up. The following day, Hank arrives with the equipment and Betsy and Tolman. Hank sheepishly admits to Kenny that while dining with Betsy, he got drunk again and lost Cappy's money gambling. Kenny is infuriated when Hank further reveals that in exchange for a loan from Betsy to pay his gambling debts, Hank promised her a one-third interest in the lease. Tolman offers the group use of his equipment for sixty days with the provision that if they have not struck oil by then he will reclaim it along with the lease. With no money, Kenny, Hank and Cappy are forced to accept the terms, and grudgingly agree to Betsy's presence at the drilling camp, despite their suspicion that she remains in league with Tolman. Soon the men are hard at work, despite the shoddiness of Tolman's equipment. After several days pass, Hank declares they must begin drilling through the night in order to meet Tolman's deadline. Betsy fights off an advance by Kenny, but is mostly ignored by Hank, to her dismay. The equipment nearly fails several times, but Hank manages to repair it and the drilling continues. At last the drill bits wear out and the men are forced to order new ones from Tolman. Several days later, Tolman arrives, insisting that he has no bits, while assuring Betsy in an aside that he has them, but hopes to stall their progress. Betsy convinces Tolman to give the men the bits, promising that she will delay their progress some other way. When Hank begins to warm to Betsy, Kenny grows jealous and lies to keep the pair apart during a planned date. Believing Hank has only been stringing her along, Betsy goes out with Kenny, infuriating Hank. The two men fight until Cappy forces them to reconcile. Another delay in drilling occurs when Betsy accidentally knocks a bit into the well. The men accuse her of sabotage, but Betsy admits that while she once was in cahoots with Tolman, she has since fallen in love with Hank and wants to see the men succeed. The engine begins to give out, but when the men go to Tolman for a new one, he is concerned about another of his well sites that has caught fire. After Tolman reveals that his only available engine is on the site of the burning well, Kenny and Hank force Tolman to agree to give them a sixty-day extension if they can put out the fire. Their attempt to blow out the fire with explosives fails, however, and both men are slightly injured. Hank grows despondent, convinced that they will not meet the deadline. On the final day, Tolman arrives at the site with the sheriff to force the men off the land the moment their time is up. With only twenty minutes remaining, Cappy suggests they try dynamiting the well. When Cappy injures himself trying to place the dynamite, Betsy pleads for Hank to try. Just as time runs out, the explosives are detonated, and oil gushes from the well to the partners' jubilation.