Cast & Crew
Cottonwood, Texas claim-jumper Alexander Stiles and his gang attempt to buy the ranch of Mr. and Mrs. Clayborn. When Clayborn refuses their paltry offer, Stiles' gang kills him and his wife and beats his young son John. Ten years later, John, now a lawyer, returns to Cottonwood under the name of John Clay to exact vengeance. In the stagecoach with him during his journey are Eli Jackson and his beautiful daughter Belle, who are coming to Cottonwood to start a cattle ranch. Stiles, now powerful and wealthy due to his illegal activities and connections with corrupt officials, claims all the water rights in the area, forcing ranchers to sell him their cattle for worthless store script in exchange for access to water holes. Ranchers Hank Matthews and Josh Billings, almost bankrupted by Stiles, ask John to represent them in a lawsuit against Stiles. John takes the case but must retrieve the circuit judge himself when Stiles' cronies prevent him from coming. Judge Dunlap upholds John's contention that Stiles has no legal claim upon the water except in one instance, and that rights to the water are in the public domain, which means they must be filed for in town. After the ruling, Stiles arranges with his henchman Ash to guard the pass on the way to the filing office and to shoot anyone going through other than his men, who will be wearing white armbands. John sees the armbands being distributed, figures out the scheme and outfits the ranchers with similar bands. Eli and Belle, however, have gone on ahead, and after they are forced off the road, Belle continues alone. John catches up with Belle as she is entering the pass and gives her his armband, after which he is shot by Stiles' men. Hank rescues John and takes him to a camp where they hide out with Josh. Belle comes to the camp and apologizes to John for her earlier mistrust and tells him that she successfully filed for her water rights. Soon after, while the ranchers are preparing for a big cattle drive, Stiles' men steal the cattle Stiles was forced by the courts to return, and Eli is shot during one such raid. Belle stays to care for her father while the ranchers, with John in the lead, begin the drive, which takes them to the watering hole legally claimed by Stiles. The group arrive at the ranch where Stiles, Ash and their gang are waiting. Stiles demands half the cattle in exchange for watering privileges, but John tells Stiles his true identity and that the land, stolen from his parents, is rightfully his. A gun battle begins, and while the ranchers deal with the gang, John pursues the fleeing Stiles and Ash. Stiles' wagon falls over a cliff and he is crushed by his safe, while John catches up with Ash and outdraws him. His childhood vendetta satisfied, John marries Belle and begins a new life.
Joseph H. Lewis
John A. Stransky Jr.
The film's working title was West of God's Country. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Aubrey Scotto was to replace Joseph Kane as the director. According to a Daily Variety news item, the picture was shot on location at Lone Pine, CA. Modern sources list the following additional cast members: Earl Dwire, Tex Palmer, Horace B. Carpenter, Tex Phelps, Bud Pope, Tracy Layne and Jack Kirk.
Released in United States 1936
Formerly distributed in USA on video by Republic Pictures Home Video.
Released in United States 1936