Phantom of the Plains


56m 1945

Brief Synopsis

Red Ryder (Bill Elliott as Wild Bill Elliott) and Little Beaver (Bobby Blake) return to Blue Springs and learn that the Duchess (Alice Fleming), Red's aunt, is going to sell her stagecoach line and marry a snooty Englishman Talbot Champneys (Ian Keith), who is really Fancy Charlie, who has the nasty habit of marrying rich women and then killing them for their fortune. The concerned Red thinks everything is okay until he sees Champneys mistreating Red's horse, Thunder, and he then decides to investigate Champneys because, as he tells Little Beaver, no true Englishman would mistreat a horse. Realizing that he doesn't have much time with Red snooping around, the western Bluebeard persuades the Duchess to return to England with him, meet him at the railroad station to be married and, oh yes, bring her money with her.

Film Details

Also Known As
Desperadoes of Dakota, Texas Manhunt
Release Date
Sep 7, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the comic strip "Red Ryder" created by Fred Harman (1938--1964), by special arrangement with Stephen Slesinger.

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
4,979ft (6 reels)

Synopsis

In 1895, confidence man Fancy Charlie, who has married and murdered many wealthy women, comes to the town of Blue Springs, where he assumes an English accent and the name Talbot Wilberforce Champneys in order to romance the Duchess, a prosperous rancher and businesswoman. The Duchess' other suitors are disgruntled when her engagement to Charlie is announced, and the announcement also shocks her nephew, Red Ryder, and his Indian ward, Little Beaver, who are returning to town after a trip. While Red is in town discussing the situation with friends, Charlie is at the ranch with the Duchess and his confederate Celeste, who is posing as a couturier. Charlie is upset when outlaws Ace Hanlon and Pete Burdett appear at the ranch, for Burdett was once Charlie's cellmate and threatens to expose his scheme if he does not cut him in for a share of the Duchess' money. Charlie refuses, and as Burdett is beating him, Red arrives and captures Burdett, although Hanlon escapes. Red is suspicious of Charlie's claim that Burdett is merely an acquaintence who cheated him in a poker game, but lets Burdett go when Charlie insists. The Duchess is eager for Red to approve of Charlie, but Red is worried that she has been swayed by the promise of an aristocratic lifestyle in England, and knows little about her fiancé. Red's suspicions grow when Charlie beats a horse that afternoon, for as Red points out, the English are well known for their kind treatment of animals. In town, Red wires the British consul for information about "Champneys." Afraid that Red will ruin his plans, Charlie offers Hanlon and Burdett a fifty-percent share of his profits if they "take care" of Red and Little Beaver. Charlie then tells the Duchess that he has to return to England immediately, and she agrees to go with him and be married on the way, despite Red's strenuous objections. After Celeste overhears Red and Little Beaver discussing plans to pick up the reply from the British consul, Hanlon and Burdett ambush them at the telegraph office. Red and Little Beaver are held prisoner over night, and the next morning, Charlie taunts them by congratulating Red on seeing through his act and assuring him that the Duchess will soon be dead. To prevent Charlie from double-crossing them, Hanlon and Burdett intend to keep Red alive until after Duchess has been killed, but Red and Little Beaver succeed in escaping. They chase after the stage carrying the Duchess, Charlie and Celeste, and reach it just as Hanlon is about to kill Charlie for trying to double-cross him. During the ensuing fray, Red shoots Burdett and bests Hanlon in a fight, and the Duchess has the satisfaction of hitting Charlie in the face with their wedding cake.

Film Details

Also Known As
Desperadoes of Dakota, Texas Manhunt
Release Date
Sep 7, 1945
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Distribution Company
Republic Pictures Corp.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the comic strip "Red Ryder" created by Fred Harman (1938--1964), by special arrangement with Stephen Slesinger.

Technical Specs

Duration
56m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
4,979ft (6 reels)

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

The working titles of this film were Texas Manhunt and Desperadoes of Dakota. The character "Ace Hanlon" also appears in another "Red Ryder" film, The San Antonio Kid, although he is played by Glenn Strange in that picture (see below). Modern sources include Rose Plumer in the cast. For more information on the "Red Ryder" series, please consult the Series Index and see the entry below for Tucson Raiders.