The Gunman from Bodie
Cast & Crew
On a stormy night, marshal Buck Roberts takes refuge at a ranch, only to find the owners have been brutally murdered. Buck finds a note from the dead wife, Mary Gibbs, identifying Bill Cook as one of a group of rustlers responsible for their deaths, and asking the finder to take care of her infant son. At the neighboring Circle B ranch, Alice Borden has returned home to reclaim the ranch left to her by her father, who also was murdered by rustlers, along with his foreman and ten ranch hands. Alice hires the foreman's son, Joe Martin, to replace his father. Wyatt, owner of the Larabie Land & Water Company, is dismayed over Joe's appointment, as he hoped Alice would sell the ranch to her neighbor, Jud Mason. Buck rides to the Circle B and asks Alice if she will take care of the infant, after explaining how the child was orphaned. Alice gladly takes in the baby, and encourages Buck to get a meal from their new cook, Sandy Hopkins. Shortly after ward marshal Colonel Tim McCall comes to the ranch with a wanted poster identifying Buck as the notorious outlaw Bob "Bodie" Bronson. Given Buck's kindness toward the infant, Alice does not reveal his presence, but after Tim leaves, she and Joe confront Buck. Buck admits to being Bodie, and before he leaves, he gives them the note left by Mrs. Gibbs, which they turn over to Tim. In Larabie, Tim arrests Cook, who works for Mason, unaware that Sheriff Cox is Wyatt's stooge. Buck, in the meantime, arranges to become Wyatt's new range boss and accept the blame for any crimes committed by Wyatt's gang. Wyatt's displaced range boss, Steve, refuses to take orders from Buck, however, and leads a raid on the Circle B, during which he plans to kill Joe. Wyatt orders Cox to kill Cook, but Buck prevents the murder and takes Cook back to the line camp. When he learns about Steve's rebellion, he races to the Circle B to help Joe. Buck urges Joe to leave, but Steve shoots Joe in the back as he turns to go. Buck carries the unconscious foreman back to the ranch, and when Joe revives, he believes that Buck shot him. In the Larabie saloon, Steve angrily picks a fight with Tim, then escapes and robs Wyatt's safe because he thinks Wyatt has double-crossed him. Tim tries to capture Steve, and is forced to shoot him in self-defense. Unknown to Larabie citizens, Buck, Tim and Sandy are all partners in the renowned "Rough Riders" team of marshals, and they are working undercover together. When Sandy informs Tim that Joe was shot, Tim rounds up a posse of ranchers to capture "Bodie" and his gang. Tim motivates the ranchers by telling them that Wyatt is trying to drive them off their ranches so he can take possession of the land and water rights. Sandy, meanwhile, tells Wyatt that he is "Bodie's" partner, and that Tim is leading a posse against them. Wyatt meets with Buck at the line camp, and Buck pretends to lead the gang to a hideout, but actually leads them into a trap, where Tim and the posse arrest the gang. Joe is surprised to learn Buck and Sandy's true identities, and he and Alice bid the "Rough Riders" a grateful farewell.
Frank La Rue
The working title of this film was Bad Man from Bodie. Although Harry Neumann is credited onscreen as director of photography, Allen Thompson is listed as photographer in Hollywood Reporter production charts. This is the second film in the "Rough Riders" series. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index, and see the entry above for Arizona Bound.