El Paso Stampede


53m 1953

Brief Synopsis

In the last of the "Rocky" Lane series, federal marshal Rocky Lane (Allan Lane) saddles up "Black Jack" and heads for the Mexican border to investigate cattle rustling during the Spanish-American War. He gets a job with feed-merchant Nugget Clark (Eddy Waller), and discovers that Nugget's wizened little helper,Josh Bailey (Edward Clark), has been giving cattle shipment information to the town dentist, Mason "Doc" Ramsey (Stephen Chase), who is the secret leader of the rustlers headed by Floyd Garnett (Roy Barcroft.) When Ramsey and Garnett steal some of Nugget's cattle feed, Rocky follows them to their hideout through a waterfall into a hidden valley (El Paso is overun with such scenic delights.) The outlaws have kidnapped Alice Clark (Phyllis Coates)and Rocky captures Ramsey after Garnett is killed in a gun battle. Alice is rescued, the stolen cattle are recovered and Rocky moves on to his next film assignment, which was more than five years later when he turned up as the sheriff in Universal's "The Saga of Hemp Brown." This film had two working titles, "Stagecoach To Cheyenne" and "El Dorado Gold Rush", which lasted until somebody read the script and found no mention of gold rushes, El Dorado, Cheyenne or stagecoaches-to-anywhere. The waterfall in a hidden valley would have fit Cheyenne better than El Paso, but it would have been a heck of a cattle drive to get the herd across the Mexican border.

Film Details

Also Known As
Stagecoach to Cheyenne
Release Date
Sep 8, 1953
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
53m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Synopsis

During the Spanish-American War, ranchers near the town of Clarksburg agree to sell cattle to the Army, but are unable to deliver, as rustlers steal the animals before they can be herded to El Paso. The secret leader of the rustlers is the town's respected dentist, Mason Ramsey, who has his men hide the cattle in a valley until they can proceed with their own plans. When the cattle fails to arrive as promised, Allan "Rocky" Lane, the Army's investigator, is sent to check on the problem. On the way, Rocky assists a stage driver who has just been ambushed by outlaws, presumably the same ones who rustled the cattle. His passenger, the town's new marshal, Zeke Banning, has been killed in the skirmish. After arriving in town, Rocky decides to work undercover, posing as an employee at the feed store owned by Nugget Clark and his daughter Alice. Unknown to the Clarks, another trusted employee, the elderly Josh Bailey, frequently uses the excuse of a chronic toothache to inform Ramsey of the ranchers' plans. At dinner one night, rancher Jim Stevens shows up wounded, saying the rustlers took his cattle. After rounding up other ranchers, Rocky and Nugget block the narrow pass out of the area and succeed in retrieving the herd. However, the rustlers escape unidentified. Meanwhile, Alice, while taking inventory, discovers that many sacks of grain are missing. Rocky guesses that the rustlers have stolen the grain for the cattle, and asks for Nugget's help in setting a trap, hoping he will be able to follow the thieves to their hiding place. That evening, Rocky hides in the storage barn and witnesses Josh help the thieves load a wagon with grain. Although Rocky tries to follow them, a gunfight commences. The wagon races off, but its speed causes the hitch to break and the wagon goes over a cliff and into the river. Back in town, Josh denies any wrongdoing, so Rocky has Nugget tie him up in the barn, then leaves to look around. Later, claiming to have a toothache, Josh howls in pain until Nugget gets Ramsey to check on him. After learning from Josh about Rocky, Ramsey arranges for his henchmen to break Josh free, but the attempt fails and they escape, leaving Josh behind. When Rocky frightens Josh with accusations of treason and warns him of the penalties, Josh agrees to confess, but Ramsey is eavesdropping from another room and shoots him dead, then slips away unseen. Rocky examines Josh's body and seeing false teeth, realizes that Josh's frequent visits to the dentist were unnecessary and probably a way to keep Ramsey informed of the ranchers' plans. A secret search of Ramsey's office uncovers a newspaper clipping about Jose Delgado, a buying agent for their wartime enemy, and Rocky guesses that Ramsey is planning to sell the cattle to him. Back at the feed store, Rocky and Nugget decide to make it known that they are returning grain to the wholesale distributor, hoping that Ramsey and the thieves will attempt to steal the grain en route and lead them to the hidden cattle. Knowing that Ramsey desires her and would believe anything she says, Alice takes it upon herself to bait Ramsey with the information, but inadvertently says too much when he forcefully kisses her against her will. He takes her captive and plans a counter trap. At the feed store, after Nugget finds a note Alice left, which tells him that she went to Ramsey's, Rocky and Nugget proceed there and find her purse. Guessing that Ramsey is on to them, they arrange for the ranchers to ambush the outlaws at a different spot. Later, when the outlaws chase the driver hauling the grain, Rocky and the ranchers are ready and after a gunfight, arrest most of the outlaws. Ramsey sneaks away, but Rocky follows him into the cave, where Alice is being held. While they fight, Ramsey escapes through the cave to a hidden valley, where the stolen cattle are grazing. After Rocky beats Ramsey, he is able to return the cattle to the ranchers, who arrange for the herd to be delivered to the Army. Later, after the cattlemen thank Rocky, Nugget offers him a job as marshal, but Rocky reminds him that he is needed for the war effort, and rides away to make his report.

Film Details

Also Known As
Stagecoach to Cheyenne
Release Date
Sep 8, 1953
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
53m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working title of the film was Stagecoach to Cheyenne. Following the onscreen credits, a written prologue reads: "During the Spanish-American war, ranchers who were shipping cattle to feed our fighting men were faced with a grave problem: outlaws-to whom the nation's welfare meant little-began rustling their herds...." A photograph of actor Grant Withers is used for the newspaper picture of "Jose Delgado." Although a February 1953 Hollywood Reporter production chart and news items report that a film titled El Paso Stampede was in production, that film was later re-titled Savage Frontier (see below). El Paso Stampede marked the final film of Republic's Rocky Lane series.