Citadel of Crime
Cast & Crew
Gang boss Nick Gerro wants to distribute moonshine statewide but is frustrated when the distrustful hillbillies of Pine Flats refuse to cooperate. After one of his men, Bull Hymer, is wounded in an encounter with the hillbillies, Gerro decides to have Hymer confess to a murder for which Gerro had previously framed his rival, Cal Fullerton. Gerro wants to save Cal from the electric chair and induce him to work for the gang because he is from Pine Flats and is trusted by the locals. On the day Cal is released from jail, he is brought to the gang headquarters, where the scheme is explained to him by Carnie, Gerro's right-hand man, as Gerro does not want Cal to know that he is in charge. Cal suspects that someone else is running the gang but nonetheless agrees to talk to the moonshiners. Upon returning home, Cal goes to the tavern owned by Martin Jackson, and there is welcomed by his former friends, including Jackson's daughter Ellie, who is now a schoolteacher. Telling them that he wishes to start a business in Pine Flats, Cal settles in and then visits Jess Meekins, the influential leader of the moonshiners. Cal arranges with Meekins for the hillbillies to supply the gang with corn liquor, for which they will receive half of the profits. When Cal reports his progress to Carnie, however, he is dissatified with Carnie's proposal to give the hillbillies only fifty cents per gallon and demands to see the head man. Gerro, who has been listening in the next room, reveals himself and the enraged Cal kills him. Assuming control of the gang, Cal begins shipping the moonshine and romancing Ellie, who is unaware of his true business and is momentarily swayed by his talk of helping the local people. Her other suitor, undercover revenue officer Jim Rogers, finally convinces her that Cal is up to no good and will bring ruin to Pine Flats. Jim explains that the government turned a blind eye to the bootlegging while it was kept local, but now that the liquor is being widely distributed, the stills will be destroyed and the hillbillies driven from their homes. Ellie and Jim then explain the situation to Meekins, who has become fed up with Cal's increasing arrogance, and he agrees to stop supplying the gang. Hoping to round up the gang that evening, Jim plants federal agents at a dance being held at nearby Myrtle Grove, but Cal has his henchman Lefty follow Jim and learns that he is a revenue agent. After confronting Meekins, who tells him that he is getting too big for his size, Cal captures Jim and forces him to drive with the gang to Myrtle Grove. Meekins prepares his own men, and in the ensuing shootout, the federal agents and hillbillies apprehend the gang, while Jim shoots Cal. As Cal dies, he tells Meekins that he was right, and Jim walks off with Ellie.
The working title of this film was Ten Nights in a Barroom. Although several Hollywood Reporter news items announced that Republic intended the picture to be a remake of the novel (Philadelphia, 1839) and play (Washington, D.C., 23 August 1858), Ten Nights in a Barroom, which had been filmed numerous times previously, copyright records and reviews noted that it had no connection with the novel or play. A April 19, 1941 Los Angeles Times news item noted that Joseph Kane was scheduled to direct and produce the picture. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart includes Tim Ryan in the cast, he does not appear in the completed film. An February 11, 1942 Variety news item stated that Republic was going to produce another film and release it under the original title Ten Nights in a Barroom that year, but it did not.