Cast & Crew
While Joe Dakota is searching for his friend, whom he calls The Old Indian, he rides into the seemingly abandoned town of Arborville, California. When he goes to visit the nearby farm owned by the Indian, he witnesses an oil well being dug. Cal Moore, the leader of the enterprise, allows Joe to watch the proceedings, but when Joe enters a cabin on the land, Cal gets angry and his men push Joe into the oil pool. Joe goes back to Arborville, where Jody Weaver, a young woman he had met upon his arrival, gives him fresh clothes. When he inquires about The Old Indian, she insists that his name was Joe Dakota, but refuses to say much more. While Joe is taking a bath in the town's horse trough, the townspeople return from the well and are outraged. Joe asks about the Indian, but like Jody, the people refuse to talk. Later, the townspeople meet in Marcus Vizzini's saloon to discuss the day's proceedings, and Cal suggests that "the stranger" is a "wildcat." When Joe returns from another investigation of the cabin, Myrna, Jody's sister and Cal's girl friend, alerts the men. Joe goes to Marcus' saloon, where a fight breaks out between Joe and the town's two bullies, brothers Aaron and Adam Grant. Joe reveals his identity and claims that the property on which the well is being dug belongs to him. Cal insists that the Indian signed the land deed over to him, but Joe nonetheless establishes himself at the cabin. Joe then goes to the local barber, Jim Baldwin, and discovers that Cal recently arrived in Arborville after a career as a wildcat, and that he accidentally found the oil after buying the Indian's land for farming purposes. After Jody goes to see Joe at the cabin and demands to know his identity, Joe explains that The Old Indian had telegrammed him for help and was using Joe's own name. Jody claims that the Indian was hanged because he tried to rape her one night, but Joe accuses her of lying, and Jody leaves in anger. After Joe goes to the Indian's grave and leaves a cross on it, he returns to the cabin to find Jody waiting for him. Joe explains that the Indian, who had been his scout during his Army days, had used his name because it was the only thing he could write, and therefore, Cal's paper must be a fake. Jody insists that the townspeople were not aware of the well's existence until after the hanging took place and tells Joe the story of the attempted rape. Joe makes her realize that the attack, which happened in the dark, could not have been perpetrated by the Indian because she remembers feeling a rough beard and Indians do not have whiskers. Cal, meanwhile, returns to Arborville and convinces the townspeople to fight against Joe, and they all go to the oil well just as a gusher starts to blow. After Jody tells her story to the group, Cal knocks Joe out, then holds his gun on the group and makes them work to stop the gusher. Just then, Joe revives and attacks Cal, knocking him out after a fight. As the people leave the oil well, Marcus throws a torch and burns it so that they will have a friendly town once again. Later, Joe and Jody go to The Old Indian's grave, and Joe places his own name on the cross.
Lee Van Cleef
Leslie I. Carey
Russell A. Gausman
The Native American character, referred to throughout the film as "Joe Dakota" or "The Old Indian," appears in one flashback sequence, but the actor who plays the role is not listed in the credits or in any contemporary source. The Daily Variety review noted the similarity between Joe Dakota and the 1956 M-G-M film Bad Day at Black Rock (see below).