The Old Texas Trail


59m 1944

Brief Synopsis

As Jim Wiley, a stageline troubleshooter, arrives he is shot and relieved of his identification papers. Thinking him dead, those against the stage line construction send an imposter in his place to slow down the work. But Jim survives and now believed to be the outlaw that shot him, gets a job on the construction crew in an effort to find the big boss behind all the trouble.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 15, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,360ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

In Galveston, Texas in 1881, crooked businessman Jefferson Talbot hires local outlaw Sparks Diamond to tamper with the postal road that Howard Lane is building, so Lane will miss the deadline for a test run and lose his contract to Talbot's construction company. Sparks sends for notorious killer Rawhide Carney, who holds up Lane's coach and kills Lane moments after the builder tells his daughter Mary that troubleshooter Jim Wiley is on his way to help them finish the road. As Rawhide flees from Lane's foreman, Dave Stone, he runs into Jim, knocks him out, trades clothes with him and then races to give Jim's identification papers to Sparks as proof that he is dead. After Rawhide leaves town, insurance salesman Hinkly Pinkerton "Pinky" Pinkly rides by and rescues Jim. A week later, Sparks's henchman, Joe Gardner, calling himself Jim Wiley, impresses Mary and Dave by confronting all of the road builders, whom the crooked Queenie Leone has lured into her saloon, and insisting that they return to work. At the same time, Jim, who has recovered his strength and received new identification papers, enters town in Rawhide's clothes and is promptly arrested for Lane's murder by Sheriff Thomas, who thinks Jim is Rawhide. At the jail, Jim tells Pinky that he will pretend to be Rawhide for a while in order to infiltrate the criminal gang. At his trial, Queenie, also believing he is Rawhide, saves him by testifying that he did not kill Lane and instructs him to work with Gardner at the road construction camp. There, Jim, as Rawhide, is hired to work on the crew and manages to undermine Gardner's sabotage attempts over the next few weeks. When there are only three days left on the contract, Pinky arrives with a letter promising that the long-delayed payroll will arrive that night. Gardner's man, Pete, then holds up the stagecoach, and although Jim manages to scare Pete off long enough for the payroll to reach camp, other gang members steal the money and start a shootout. When Gardner blames Jim for the trouble, Jim escapes to town, where Pete informs Sparks that a man calling himself Rawhide stopped the robbery. Sparks, knowing this man must be the real Jim Wiley, arranges for Queenie to trick Jim into going to the hills to retrieve the stolen money, and for Pete to wait there to ambush him. Before Pete can attack, however, Dave strikes Jim, blaming him for the robbery. As they fight, Pete steals the money, causing Jim and Dave to band together against him. He escapes and the two race to the camp, where the workers refuse to finish the last mile without payment. As Jim reveals his true identity and arrests Gardner, Talbot arrives on the test run coach. Jim insists that they can ride the coach over a cattle trail to complete the run on time, but when Talbot refuses to go, they force him to confess that he knows the outlaws plan to blow up the coach at the bridge. Jim rides the coach around the bridge, prompting the outlaws to begin a gunfight, which the road builders win. While the sheriff arrests Talbot, Mary happily accepts the road contract.

Film Details

Release Date
Dec 15, 1944
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures Company, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
59m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
5,360ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

A June 1944 Hollywood Reporter article states that some scenes were shot on location in Chatsworth, CA. Modern sources add the following actors to the cast: Dick Purcell, Ray Jones, William Desmond, Henry Wills, George Plues, Herman Hack and Frank McCarroll.