Cast & Crew
When The Fox, a notorious rustler, starts raiding borderland ranches near El Rio, Colonel Gonzales of the Mexican Secret Service and Major Stafford of the Texas Rangers hire Hopalong Cassidy to go undercover as a fugitive rustler in order to capture him. Immediately, Hoppy is transformed from a kind ranch foreman and honorary lieutenant in the rangers to an escaped convict with a tough exterior, perplexing his friends, ranger Johnny Nelson and desert rat Windy. In El Rio, Hoppy receives instructions from Gonzales, who is disguised as a street singer, and stays at the boardinghouse of Grace Rand. Other guests include Loco, a dimwit, Windy, Johnny and Grace's young daughter Molly. After The Fox shoots Tom Parker, his second in command, and replaces him with Dandy Morgan, Hoppy finds Parker's body and a piece of paper riddled with holes, and later finds a matching paper in a shack, which he presumes to be The Fox's. Loco then gives one of the rustlers a similar piece of paper, ordering him to dispose of Johnny, who is en route to report missing cattle. The rustler wounds Johnny, but is himself killed by Hoppy, who rescues Johnny and carries his unconscious body to the boardinghouse and disappears. Johnny recovers, unaware that Hoppy was his savior. Hoppy then sees Loco meticulously tearing holes in a piece of paper and realizes he is not the dimwit he pretends to be, but an informant for The Fox. Hoppy sets a trap for Morgan by making a rustling deal with him, while Gonzales and his men prepare to ambush the rustlers. Loco then discovers Hoppy's cover and takes Windy and Molly hostage to lure Hoppy to his hideout. When Hoppy arrives, Loco, who is really The Fox, exchanges Windy and Molly for an unarmed Hoppy. Hoppy successfully disarms The Fox and holds him at gunpoint, but is shot in the leg in the struggle. Gonzales' men arrive and exchange gunfire with the rustlers as Hoppy's strength diminishes. Finally, Gonzales apprehends The Fox. When Johnny greets the wounded Hoppy, he reveals himself as Johnny's rescuer and promises to recover as Johnny did.
John St. Polis
D. M. Abrahams
The title card for this film reads: "Clarence E. Mulford's Borderland." This film was shot at Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert of California. Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Slim Whitaker, Cliff Parkinson, Karl Hackett, Robert Walker, Frank Ellis, J. P. McGowan and Jack Evans. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy below.