The Devil's Trail
Cast & Crew
Noah Beery Sr.
As he is making camp for the night, marshal Tex Martin hears a rider galloping up and takes cover in the bushes. When the rider fires at the camp, Tex shoots back, killing his assailant. Drawn by the sound of gunshots, the man's compatriots ride to the camp, and upon finding their friend's body, break a horse shoe in half, pledge loyalty to the cause and ride away. In the town of Tiburon, Kansas, meanwhile, fugitive Wild Bill Hickock asks blacksmith Ed Dawson to shoe his horse. The talkative Dawson informs Bill that he knows that he is wanted for murder and then reveals his rogues gallery of wanted posters, which include that of Bill, Dawson and Buck McQuade. Bragging that he and McQuade are members of the Broken U League, an organization dedicated to keeping settlers out of Kansas, thus insuring that the state will vote for seccession, Dawson assumes that Bill's allegiance is to the league. From the blacksmith shop, Bill proceeds to the saloon, where Ella, one of McQuade's minions, challenges his loyalty to the cause. McQuade has imprisoned all those who oppose him, and among his captives are Doc Willowby, the founder of the Settlers Aid Society, his daughter Myra, and Cannonball, a "free- stater" who wants Kansas to remain part of the Union and abolish slavery. When Jim Randall, one of McQuade's thugs, starts to beat Cannonball, Bill comes to Cannonball's aid and is wounded by Jim's knife. In McQuade's absence, Ella orders Cannonball to take Bill to Doc Willowby's to be treated, and at the house in which the Willowbys are being held captive, Myra denounces Bill's involvement in the league. Bill responds that he feels no allegiance to McQuade and was actually caring for the wounded homesteader whom he was accused of killing. Bill then offers to help free the Willowbys in exchange for their help in exonerating him. When McQuade returns to town and discovers that Bill is at the Willowbys' house, he begins to mistrust him and decides to send Bill out of town to guard the pass. After Bill departs, Tex rides into town with a warrant for Bill's arrest. Seeing an opportunity to rid himself of both Bill and the marshal at once, McQuade offers to bring Bill in and turn him over to Tex. After McQuade apprehends Bill, Tex takes him prisoner and the two leave town. On the trail, Bill tells Tex about McQuade's secret society, but Tex refuses to believe him. Cannonball, who has been following them, then jumps from the underbrush and frees Bill. After tying Tex to his horse, Bill shoos the animal back to town. In Tiburon, Tex repeats Bill's accusations to McQuade. When McQuade orders him men to eliminate Tex, Willowby sends Myra to warn him. To trap Tex, Ella tells him that Bill wants to meet him at an abandoned shack. When Tex approaches the shack, Myra, who is hiding there to avoid McQuade's men, warns him of the ambush and Tex overpowers his assailants. Pleading with Tex to join their cause, Myra leads him to the cave in which Cannonball and Bill are hiding. Holling, one of McQuade's men, follows them there and is about to kill Tex when Bill shoots him, thus saving Tex's life. Now convinced that Bill is innocent, Tex joins Myra, Cannonball and Bill, and they all ride back to Tiburon to free Willowby. After overpowering the doctor's guard, Tex ties him up while Bill takes the doctor to the stable. When McQuade spies Tex in town, a shootout ensues and Ella is killed in the crossfire. After McQuade's men begin firing at the stable, Tex and Bill, having run out of ammunition, decide to lure them into the building by ceasing fire. Thinking that Bill and Tex are dead, McQuade and his men rush unarmed into the stable and are met by the guns of Tex, Bill and Cannonball. With McQuade and his gang under arrest, peace is restored to Tiburon, and freedom looms on the horizon for all the citizens of Kansas.
Noah Beery Sr.
The working title of this film was The Town in Hell's Backyard. Modern sources add Art Mix to the cast. For additional information on the "Wild Bill Hickock" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry above for Across the Sierras.