Last Stagecoach West


1h 27m 1957

Brief Synopsis

The coming of the railroad to Cedar City spells the end of the stagecoach as the government gives the mail contract to the fastest means of delivery. McCord loses the stagecoach line gambling with the new buyer, but has enough hidden money to buy a ranch and some cattle. To make more money, he starts a gang to rob the railroad, express offices and steal cattle. But the railroads send out special agent Cameron to end his reign of violence.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Ventura Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

With the coming of the railroad to Cedar City, Colorado, Rand McCord, the owner of the local stage line, finds that he is in danger of losing his government contract. To determine the most efficient mode of transportation, the government has mandated a race between McCord and the railroad, the winner of which will be awarded a shipping contract. When McCord and his driver, Steve Margolis, lose to the speed of the iron horse, he is forced to face the possibility that he will have to sell his stagecoach line to Gibson, a buyer from California. Putting up his company as collateral, McCord instead challenges Gibson to a game of poker. After losing the game, McCord decides to take up ranching in the back country and offers Steve a job. As the two drink to their new partnership at the saloon, Steve encounters Park Ketchum, a former compatriot from the days he rode with Quantrill's Raiders. Over the next six months, a series of robberies plague the rail line within a fifty-mile stretch of Cedar City, prompting George Bryceson, the head of the Railroad Protective Association, to assign railroad detective Bill Cameron to an investigation. Instructing Bill to work undercover, Bryceson sends a telegram to Angus MacKendrick, the organization's divisional representative in Cedar City, informing him of Bill's arrival. The message is intercepted by the Cedar City telegraph operator, who is in league with the outlaws and passes the information along to them. Soon after, Bill arrives in town posing as a salesman peddling Dr. Arpel's Indian Remedy. Bill is met by MacKendrick, who tells him that the outlaws are hiding out in the back country and suggests that he consult with McCord, an authority on the area. As Bill drives along the road to the McCord ranch, he comes upon McCord's daughter Louise, who is also on her way to the ranch. When Bill stops to talk to Louise, the gang, who has been trailing him, begins to fire. Jumping into Louise's carriage, Bill spurs the horses on, but when Steve, who is working secretly with the gang, sees that Louise is with Bill, he calls off the attack. Realizing that the gang is aware of his identity, Bill admits to Louise that he is a railroad detective and begins to flirt with her. At the ranch, Louise introduces Bill to Steve and her father, who invites him to stay with them. After dinner that night, Bill asks Louise if Steve is in love with her, but she demurs. Later that evening, Steve rides to the gang's hideout in Pecos to outline a plan to steal the neighboring Colter herd as they pass by on a trail drive the following day. Seeing Steve return to the ranch late that night, Bill becomes suspicious. Bill rides to town the next day, and upon learning that the Colter herd has been rustled, tells Sheriff Glenn that he has a hunch the rustlers may be headed to Eureka, where Jack Fergus, a construction boss, has been buying cattle to feed his workers. The sheriff then sends Fergus a telegram disclosing his suspicions and asking him to stall the outlaws. Upon discovering that the telegraph operator has neglected to send the message, the sheriff orders him to dispatch it immediately. To reach Eureka swiftly, the sheriff, Bill, Steve and a posse board a train with their horses. Soon after the gang arrives with the stolen cattle, Fergus receives the telegram, and when he tries to stall them, they demand to see the cable. As the outlaws detonate explosives to blow up the safe, Bill and the posse arrive, sending the rustlers fleeing into the rocks. Bill is about to sneak up behind the rustlers when a lone, masked rider dressed in black appears, creating a diversion that allows the gang to scatter and escape. Surmising that the outlaws may be heading for Pecos, the sheriff uses a shortcut to lead the posse there. As three of the rustlers approach, led by Park, a shootout ensues in which two of the gang are killed. Park surrenders, and as he reaches to drop his weapon, Steve shoots and kills him. Back in Cedar City, Bill and the sheriff conclude that, with the disappearance of the telegraph operator and the death of Park, they have run out of leads. Bill then conceives of a plot to trap the rest of the gang. Bill informs McCord that, because Park is dead and the gang's hideout has been discovered, the railroad considers the case closed and has summoned him back to headquarters. Bill then says goodbye to Louise and kisses her. As Bill rides out, Steve returns to the ranch bearing a newspaper article stating that the stolen gold has been recovered and will be shipped by rail. Assuming that the gang will try to rob the train when it stops for fuel, Bill and the sheriff watch from the hills above the fuel stop. After the gang, led by Steve, attacks, the lone black figure snatches the bags containing the gold and rides off. In the ensuing gunfight, the rider and Steve are both wounded, but manage to escape while the rest of the gang surrenders. Badly injured, the rider, who is McCord, returns to the ranch and falls from his horse. Louise runs out to help her father who, with his dying words, admits to organizing the gang to "steal from the railroad what it stole" from him. Just then, Steve arrives and asks Louise to marry him. When Louise replies she never wants to see him again and plans to return the money, Steve snatches the bags and is about to silence her with his gun when Bill rides up and kills him. Some weeks later, Bill returns to the office of the Railroad Protective Association to introduce his new wife Louise to Bryceson.

Film Details

Release Date
Jul 1957
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Ventura Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 27m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The film opens with the voice of an offscreen narrator describing the rise of the railroad in the West.