The Blazing Trail
Cast & Crew
When old Mike Brady is shot and killed, suspicion falls on his two brothers, Sam and Kirk. Steve Allan, the town sheriff, and in secret, The Durango Kid, masked fighter for justice, remembers that two days earlier, when Kirk was playing cards with Full House Patterson, Mike threatened to leave him out of his will if he did not stop gambling. Mike's will was witnessed by his lawyer Luke Masters, Luke's niece Janet, and ranch hand Jess Williams, who, because he cannot read or write, has signed with a mark. The will leaves most of the ranch to Kirk, except for a section given to Jess, and Sam inherits the gold mine, which everyone believes to be worthless. Sam is furious and insists that the will must be a forgery. Steve believes that Luke and Janet, who is in love with Kirk, are hiding something. At the scene of Mike's murder, Steve finds the empty shells from the murder weapon and decides to compare them to shells from the guns of the suspects. Dressed as The Durango Kid, Steve disarms Sam and empties his gun of its shells. He then arranges a meeting with Patterson, and after a shootout, collects those empty shells as well. To Steve's disappointment, neither of the shells match those that killed Mike. Steve then asks Smiley Burnette, the writer and editor of the town newspaper, for the articles that Mike wrote so that he can compare the handwriting to the will. When Steve goes to Luke's office for the will, he discovers Janet trying to burn some papers. He then seals the papers in a file and asks to see Luke's gun. Luke informs Steve that his gun is missing, but Steve finds it in the desk. Later, Steve determines that the bullets that killed Mike came from Luke's gun. Although Luke becomes the prime suspect, later he is murdered and Steve must look elsewhere for the killer. After Patterson's gang steals the file containing the papers from Luke's office, Steve learns that Kirk forged Mike's signature to some IOUs. He then receives a note from Colton, the county registrar, who claims to be able to prove that Mike's will was illegal. The killer overhears Steve telling this to Smiley, however, and kills Colton before he can deliver the proof to Steve. As The Durango Kid, Steve arrives just after the killer's attack and finds the information on Colton's body. Steve then asks Smiley to print a story announcing that gold has been discovered at Sam's mine. With Janet's help, Steve discovers a secret panel in Mike's house which contains another will. After asking Smiley to reproduce the new will in one copy of the paper, Steve heads for the mine, followed by Patterson and Kirk. At the mine, Sam and Jess are loading sacks of gold. Although he claims to have overheard talk about the discovery of another will, Jess reveals that he can read when he announces that Mike's new will leaves the mine to him. Steve then accuses Jess of murdering Mike with Luke's gun, explaining that because Mike was too embarrassed to let people know that he could not read and write, Jess did these tasks for him. He also sat behind Kirk during card games and tipped the contents of his hand to Patterson. Jess wrote the second will when it appeared that the mine contained gold. Steve then demonstrates that the bags that Sam was loading actually contain type from Smiley's typesetting kit.
Ira H. Morgan
Frank [a.] Tuttle
Modern sources add Merrill McCormack to the cast. For more information on "The Durango Kid" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for The Return of the Durango Kid.