In Early Arizona
Cast & Crew
In the 1880's, in the Arizona Territory, the town of Tombstone is terrorized by Bull and his bandits. Residents and honest peace officers alike watch helplessly as Bull and his bandits spread terror throughout the region. To stop the gang, Marshal Jeff Bowers joins forces with wealthy businessman Tom Weldon. They must contend with the sheriff and the justice of the peace, who are in league with the bandits and are contributing to the lawlessness. Statehood for Arizona would end the bandit activities, but Jeff decides that Tombstone cannot afford to wait for that to happen and sends for the notorious gunman Whit Gordon, who has just cleaned up Dodge City. Whit arrives in Tombstone in time to rescue Tom's daughter Alice from the bandits, who have held up her stagecoach and killed the driver. As a result of his courageous act, Whit is deputized as assistant marshal. When Whit recognizes Bull and his men as the bandits, he accuses them of murder and orders them to get out of town for good. Bull's gang leaves Tombstone, but they ignore his orders and later return to shoot up the town. The marshal is killed by the bandits during the gun battle, and Whit takes his place. Later, when Bull and his men are tried before a crooked judge and released, Whit vows to find out who Bull's boss is. Meanwhile, an upcoming election to decide the future of the Arizona Territory and who will be the next sheriff becomes the next target of the bandits, as they plan to terrorize Tombstone and frighten the citizens away from the polls. Bull posts a $5,000 reward for anyone who kills Whit and then makes preparations to stuff the ballot boxes. As the bandits are about to ride into town, Buzz, a young boy who respects Whit, secretly disarms the gang. Bull suspects Buzz of informing on them and orders the boy's death. After learning that the early voting results indicate that Whit will be elected sheriff and that Arizona will attain statehood, the bandits approach Tombstone and attempt to scare the citizens away. During the raid, Whit catches thieves trying to switch the ballot box with their own and arrests them. Soon after Whit returns the stolen ballot box, Weldon confesses that it was he who backed Bull and his henchmen. When Buzz is found dead after the ambush, Whit hunts down Bull and his men and, following a blustering fight, captures the bandit leader. Election results indicate that Arizona will become a state and that Whit has been elected sheriff. Whit, however, decides to take the bigger job of U. S. marshal to the new state instead.
A working title for this film was In Old Arizona. The film marked actor Gordon Elliott's first feature billing as "Bill Elliott." The Variety review notes that Columbia introduced Elliott as Bill Elliott apparently to tie in with its "Wild Bill Hickok" serial, in which he starred. Variety also notes that Elliot "plays a man thinly disguised from Wyatt Earp." Modern sources list the following actors in the cast: Slim Whitaker, Al Ferguson, Bud Osborne, Lester Dorr, Tom London, Kit Guard, Jack O'Shea, Frank Ball, Tex Palmer, Sherry Tansey, Dick Dorrell, Oscar Gahan, Buzz Barton, Jess Caven, Symona Boniface, Chick Hannon, Bob Card and Cliff Lyons.