Cast & Crew
Caleb Wales, sheriff of Goldridge, returns to town to find his deputy Bear drunk, smashing up the Golden Rule saloon. When Jed, a member of the town council, demands that Bear be jailed, Caleb takes the deputy to the jailhouse. As Caleb looks out his office window, he sees Stan, a member of the lawless gang led by Happy Waters, ride into town. Once Bear sobers up, Caleb instructs him to follow Stan, who has just left town. The ungrateful town council, meanwhile, has decided that since Caleb has established law and order in Goldridge, he has outlived his usefulness as sheriff. Consequently, when Caleb ignores the council's orders to fire Bear, they terminate Caleb's employment and elect Bert, one of the council members, as sheriff. Smiley Andrews, a brash young man, eagerly volunteers to act as deputy, but Bert wisely refuses. Later that night, Bear returns to town and reports to Caleb that Happy and his gang are on their way to Goldridge. Caleb then informs Bear that Happy is no longer their concern because they have both been fired. The following morning, after Bert rides out to warn an incoming stage about a washout along the road, Happy and his sadistic gang, comprised of Stan, Walt and Nels, ride into town. Happy, who has been itching to test Caleb's prowess with a gun, is disappointed to learn that Caleb is no longer the town sheriff. Proceeding to the Golden Rule, the gang bullies the customers in the saloon, as well as its owner, Oscar Schultz. They then insist on taking over the two hotel rooms upstairs, and when Oscar informs them that one of the rooms is occupied by Tom, the local schoolteacher, the gang ransacks Tom's room and throws all his belongings onto the saloon floor. Caleb and Bear silently watch as Tom arrives and objects to his room being pillaged. Happy and the gang then go to the town bank where they menacingly peer through a window at the banker, biding their time until they rob it. After Walt appropriates Jed's handsome horse, Jed scurries to the sheriff's office to complain and finds Tom waiting to see Bert. When the gang thrashes Cliff, the stableman, and shoots up the town, Smiley steps in to restore order. Taunting Smiley, the gang throws him into the mud then pelts him with it until he runs away. Their next stop is the general store owned by Julio and his daughter Maria, with whom Caleb is in love. After Happy humiliates Caleb by forcing him to put on a hat he does not want, they help themselves to a new wardrobe, then depart. Although Maria pleads with Caleb to leave town to avoid trouble, he refuses. That evening, after Bert escorts the stage into town and learns about Happy and his gang, he convenes a meeting of the council. Insisting on confronting the gang unarmed, Bert refuses Caleb and Bear's offer to accompany him. At the saloon, the gang laughs when Bert orders them to leave town. Just then, Smiley bursts in and Happy challenges him to a gunfight. As Caleb looks on, Happy unnerves the boy then beats him to the draw and kills him. When Bert attacks Happy, the outlaw thrashes him, after which Bert retreats to the sheriff's office humiliated. Following Bert there, Bear and Caleb agree to step in to uphold the law, then return to the saloon to face off with the gang. To gain the upper hand, Happy orders all the lights extinguished. As the outlaws shoot at the lawmen from the confines of their room, Caleb shoots Stan, and Bear hits Nels in the face. Walt and Happy slip down the stairs into the saloon, and after Walt is killed in the ensuing shootout, Happy surrenders. Caleb orders Happy to light the lamps one by one, and once the room is illuminated, challenges Happy to draw. To make the contest more interesting, Happy suggests that he toss a gold coin into the air, waiting until it falls to draw. At the sound of the gold piece hitting the ground, the men fire, and Caleb kills Happy as Happy's bullet hits Caleb in the leg.
Lindsley Parsons Jr.
T. Frank Woods
The working titles of this film were Storm out of the West and Gun for a Town. The opening and closing onscreen cast credits differ slightly in order. According to a February 1957 Los Angeles Times article, location shooting was done in the Simi Valley. Hell Canyon Outlaws marked the screen debut of Dick Kallman, who also wrote the title song. Although onscreen notes refer to the piece as "the title song," the exact name of the song is unclear.