Hidden Valley Outlaws


55m 1944

Brief Synopsis

Lawyer Leland is using land rights to kick the ranchers off their land. When Wild Bill and Gabby arrive to help the ranchers, he has actor Percel frame them for murder and then incites the townsmen to lynch them.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Outlaw Buster
Release Date
Apr 2, 1944
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 30 Mar 1944
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
55m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,606ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

In the Southwestern county of San Pablo, ranchers are frustrated by an influx of Civil War veterans, known as "Head Righters," who have been given the right to homestead small parcels of unoccupied land. Although the U.S. government intends for the Head Rights documents to reward honest soldiers, unscrupulous men have stolen or purchased the papers and are using them to claim the prime lands of established ranchers. The secret leader of the worst offenders in San Pablo is lawyer Gilbert Leland, who has ordered his henchmen, Ben Bannion, Canary, Gridley and Coulter, to claim as much land as possible. One afternoon, the thugs establish a camp on the lands of rancher Daniel Montoya Clark, who orders them to leave. When Clark, who never carries a gun, reaches into his jacket for a pipe, he is shot by Canary. Drawn by the gunshot, Clark's daughter Judy and son Danny are shocked by their father's murder, but because the only eyewitnesses to the crime are the killers, who claim that they acted in self-defense, Canary and his cohorts are acquitted at their trial. Frustrated, Danny straps on a gunbelt and shoots Gridley and Coulter before going into hiding. Worried that Danny will endanger his plans, Leland concocts a scheme to silence him by sending for renowned lawman Wild Bill Elliott and his pal, Gabby Hayes. Bill and Gabby receive a telegram, allegedly from San Pablo sheriff W. L. MacBride, asking for help in capturing a killer. They meet secretly with Eddie Purcell, an actor hired by Leland to impersonate MacBride, who asks them to apprehend Danny. When Bill and Gabby follow Judy to Danny's hideout, they are in turn followed by Canary, who shoots Danny during his confrontation with Bill and Gabby. Gabby is worried that his warning shot ricocheted and killed the young man, but Bill suspects that the fatal shot came from another direction. When Bill and Gabby take Danny's body to town, they are astonished to meet the real MacBride. No one believes their story, and Bill and Gabby are jailed for killing Danny. Ned Murphy, the Clarks's foreman, organizes a vigilante raid to lynch Bill and Gabby, but the pair escape from their cell, don masks and join the vigilantes. Because Judy has not seen Bill or Gabby before, she does not realize that they are the suspects in her brother's death and hires them when Bill offers to drive out the illegal Head Righters without resorting to vigilantism. Although Bill succeeds in breaking up one of Bannion's camps, MacBride arrests two of his unmasked helpers, prompting Ned to renew the vigilante campaign. Bill appeals to Governor Walker for help, and while the governor agrees to regulate the Head Righters, he demands that all vigilante activity cease. Meanwhile, to frame the vigilantes for murder, Leland orders Purcell to play a legitimate land claimant, then has Canary and his men, disguised as Ned's group, pretend to murder him. During MacBride's investigation, he finds Bill and Gabby at the Clark ranch and arrests them for the deaths of Danny and Purcell, but they escape and find Purcell. Although Purcell tells the truth to Ned, it is too late to stop Judy, who has gone to Leland's office with the deed to the ranch, which he is to register with the governor, along with several other deeds, to protect against Head Rights claims. Leland intends to double-cross the ranchers and claim the lands as his own, but keeps his plans secret from Canary, with whom he does not want to share the profits. Canary finds out about Leland's scheme, however, and accosts him on the train to the capital. Bill and Gabby also board the train, and as Bill fights with Canary, the outlaw falls to his death. Leland is arrested and convicted of his crimes, and the ranchers' lands are protected from illegal Head Rights activities.

Film Details

Also Known As
The Outlaw Buster
Release Date
Apr 2, 1944
Premiere Information
Los Angeles opening: 30 Mar 1944
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Chatsworth--Iverson Ranch, California, United States

Technical Specs

Duration
55m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,606ft (6 reels)

Quotes

I never did like actors. My wife ran off with one. But I still don't like 'em.
- Bannon

Trivia

Notes

The working title of this film was The Outlaw Buster. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was filmed on location at the Iverson Ranch in Chatsworth, CA. Modern sources include Tom Steele, Robert Wilke, Cactus Mack and Frank O'Connor in the cast.