Dead Man's Trail


59m 1952

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 6, 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.; Silvermine Productions Co.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
59m

Synopsis

Bank robber Walt Winslow breaks jail and heads for his brother Dan's home in Lobo City, Texas. He is trailed by both Texas Ranger Johnny Mack Brown and members of his Black Hills gang, Brad Duncan, Yaeger, Davis and Stewart, whom he double-crossed by running away with $100,000 from their last robbery. Current gang leader Duncan correctly assumes that Walt will head to Lobo City and finds him on a stagecoach to the town. They abduct Walt and threaten to make him reveal the money's hiding place. Just as they discover Walt's map with the city of Silvertown circled, Johnny tracks them down and starts a gunfight, during which Davis is killed. When Walt tries to escape, Yaeger shoots him and the gang runs off. Johnny is the only one to hear Walt's last words: "Tell Dan the back of the pick." He then visits the sheriff in Lobo City, who informs him that Dan, who is suspected of being involved in the robbery, left weeks earlier. As they talk, Dan and Walt's mother Amelia arrives from the East looking for her sons. After Johnny tells her that Walt was killed by criminals, she shows him the most current letters from Dan, which are postmarked Silvertown. Johnny places her on a stage and then travels to Silvertown himself. There, the gang has already enlisted the help of crooked deputy sheriff Kelton, who informs him that a bank clerk named Dan Watson arrived a few weeks ago. Duncan identifies the bank clerk as Dan Winslow and follows him to his house. Although Dan swears he has no idea where the money is, a disbelieving Duncan vows to guard him until he talks. The next day, Johnny also identifies Dan, and brings him to meet his mother's stage. Duncan visits Dan that night and blackmails him into writing down the combination to the bank safe in return for not telling his mother the true circumstances of Walt's death. As they talk, Dan's mother blithely entertains the gang and points out a portrait she has brought that Walt painted. Later that night, Johnny catches the gang robbing the bank safe, but before he can arrest them, Kelton, pretending to believe that Johnny is a gang member, shoots at him and the gang escapes. Johnny quietly pockets the note, which contains the safe combination and Dan's name, and the next day, he follows Dan to an abandoned mining shack and gives him the note. In return, Dan admits that the shack was Walt's, and that he has been searching it for the hidden money in the hopes of clearing his own name. After Johnny tells him Walt's last words, they examine the backs of the pick tools but find no information. Meanwhile, Duncan formulates a plan to kill the sheriff so that Kelton, as the new sheriff, can arrest Dan and force him to talk. Kelton places Dan in jail and then hires a man to report that his mother is ill. When the sheriff hears this, he releases Dan, after which Kelton shoots the sheriff and then claims that Dan stole the sheriff's gun and killed him. Johnny, noting that the sheriff still has his gun, realizes Kelton is in league with the gang. He is followed by Kelton as he intercepts Dan, and the two realize that Walt's last words were "back of the picture," referring to the painting he sent to his mother. They plan to take the long route to his house to avoid the gang, but Kelton informs Duncan of their intentions. Duncan posts Yaeger and Stewart to kill Johnny and Dan while he races to Dan's house to grab the painting. On the trail, Dan and Johnny kill Yaeger, but Stewart escapes. They then run to Dan's and discover that his mother has given the painting to Duncan, but remembers the map that Walt drew on the back. Using her drawing of the map, they hurry to the money, but the gang has already uncovered it. A shootout breaks out, during which Johnny kills Kelton and Stewart. Duncan escapes but Johnny chases him down and beats him up. With the gang disbanded and Dan's name cleared, Johnny returns Walt's painting to his proud mother.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 6, 1952
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Monogram Productions, Inc.; Silvermine Productions Co.
Distribution Company
Monogram Distributing Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
59m

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

According to a January 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, Phyllis Coates was originally slated to star in Dead Man's Trail. The film was shot on location at Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, CA. Modern sources add John Hart to the cast.