Forty Thieves


60m 1944

Brief Synopsis

When he runs for sheriff, Hoppy is beaten by Jerry Doyle, the gutless wonder voted for by every crook in town. When Hoppy moves to have the new sheriff impeached, outlaw leader Tad Hammond hires forty gunslingers to stop him. Stop Hoppy? Hah!

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 23, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Harry Sherman Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Clarence E. Mulford.

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,438ft

Synopsis

After bringing law and order to the territory, Hopalong Cassidy, the foreman of the Bar-20 ranch, is appointed sheriff. As election time nears, Tad Hammond, one of the outlaws whom Hoppy imprisoned, rides into town, having just been paroled from jail. At the local saloon, Tad is greeted by saloon owner Jerry Doyle, who laments that Cassidy's regime has hurt business. Desiring retribution for his imprisonment, Tad suggests that Doyle run against Cassidy in the upcoming election. After the weak-willed Doyle agrees to the proposition, Tad joins forces with outlaws Ike Simmons, Sam and Joe Garms and Clanton to defeat Cassidy. On election day, the outlaws post themselves on the trail outside of town and inform the incoming ranchers, all Cassidy supporters, that the election has been postponed. When Buck Peters and the other cowhands from the Bar-20 challenge the outlaws, a gunfight ensues and Buck rides to town for help. After directing his friends, Jimmy Rogers and California Carlson, to safeguard the polls, Cassidy joins Buck and rides off to thwart the outlaws. Soon after Cassidy departs, Clanton starts a fight as a diversion, and while Jimmy and California try to restore order, one of the gang stuffs the ballot box. Meanwhile, Cassidy and the Bar-20 boys capture Garms and the others and Cassidy arrests them. Upon returning to town with his prisoners, however, Cassidy discovers that Doyle has won the election, and consequently, he is no longer sheriff. Although Judge Reynolds charges election fraud, Cassidy releases his prisoners, turns over his badge and resigns. As the outlaws celebrate their victory at Doyle's saloon, Tad offers a $2,000 reward for Cassidy's murder, and proposes that they deal a hand of poker to determine who gets the first shot. At that moment, Cassidy enters the saloon with guns drawn, strolls over to the table and orders Tad to deal the cards. After issuing the outlaws an ultimatum to leave town within twelve hours, Cassidy exits the saloon, guns blazing. The next afternoon, Cassidy and the judge examine the ballots and notice a discrepancy in the type face, thus proving that some of the ballots are counterfeit. As the twelve-hour deadline approaches, Jimmy, California and Cassidy take to the street to enforce the eviction of Tad and his gang. Clanton and two others wait in ambush, and after they fire at Cassidy, the judge takes up his rifle and joins Jimmy and California to run the outlaws out of town. Outraged by the injustice of the election, the judge's daughter Katherine decides to take the next stagecoach to the capital to confer with the governor, and Cassidy asks Jimmy to accompany her. Spotting the coach on the trail outside town, Tad and the Clantons decide to rob it. After shooting the driver and overtaking the coach, Tad takes Katherine and Jimmy hostage and sends Cassidy a message that he will kill them unless Cassidy meets him at Big Horn Butte. Upon receiving Tad's ultimatum, Cassidy sends California to round up the Bar-20 boys and then forces Doyle to join him on the ride to Big Horn Butte. Unknown to Tad and the others, Cassidy has swapped clothes with Doyle, and when the outlaws see Doyle, riding Cassidy's horse and dressed in his clothes, approach their hideout, they shoot him. Jimmy, meanwhile, frees his bonds and jumps his guard. As Jimmy takes potshots at the gang, Cassidy climbs up the rocks and begins to fire. Under attack from two fronts, the outlaws mount their horses and head for the trail, only to be blocked by California and the boys from the Bar-20. Taking flight on foot, Tad is pursued by Cassidy, who chases him onto a rickety bridge. As the two struggle, Tad loses his balance and falls to his death. With the "den of forty thieves" vanquished, California decides to run for the post of sheriff.

Film Details

Release Date
Jun 23, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Harry Sherman Productions
Distribution Company
United Artists Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on characters created by Clarence E. Mulford.

Technical Specs

Duration
60m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,438ft

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was the last "Hopalong Cassidy" film that producer Harry Sherman produced for United Artists. Modern sources add Earle Hodgins to the cast, but he could not be identified in the grainy viewed print. For additional information on the series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1990.