Cast & Crew
While preparing for a race during a Frontier Days celebration in the town of Canyon Junction, Gene Autry learns that outlaws Pete Reagan, Charlie Lewis and Jake Fargo have escaped during a jailbreak. Years before, Gene's father Steve, a sheriff, who is now dead, arrested Fargo, and unknown to Gene, the escaped men are now in Canyon Junction. Gene and Matt Kimbrough are rivals for the attentions of waitress Lily Shannon, who has promised to go to a dance with the winner of a stagecoach race. During the race, the outlaws steal some horses, including Gene's horse Champion. Gene loses the race because Matt has removed a nut from the wheel of his coach and must walk back to town. He heads for a nearby ghost town and is surprised to see a horse tethered there. The horse belongs to Ruth Lambert, a schoolteacher, who offers Gene a ride back to town. When they are ready to leave, however, the horse is missing, and Gene goes looking for it. Meanwhile, the outlaws meet an old man named Loco John, who recognizes first Champ, then Fargo, who beats him up. During the fracas, Champ breaks free from the men, and they leave Loco John to chase the horse. At the ghost town, meanwhile, Gene fails to find Ruth's horse, and she admits that she thinks the ghost of Big Tim Hanlon, known as The Bonanza King, took it. Hearing music, Gene and Ruth investigate and discover a table set for two. While they eat, Ruth tells Gene that on other visits she has spoken with the ghost. In turn, Gene tells Ruth that twenty years ago, Fargo, together with Lewis and Cash Collins, who has since died, stole a shipment of silver dollars from Hanlon's Bonanza mine. Although he was arrested, the money was never found. While they are talking, Loco John arrives and tells Gene about Fargo and Champ. During their conversation, Ruth leaves the room and reappears in a beautiful dress that she claims to have learned about from Hanlon. The criminals arrive with Champ to search for the hidden money. Discovering that the money is gone, the outlaws accuse Gene of stealing it. During the ensuing fight, Hanlon's voice calls Fargo's name. The outlaws then knock out Gene and search for Hanlon. While they are gone, Hanlon appears and helps Gene and Ruth escape through a tunnel. He explains that he pretended to die for business reasons and returned to look for the stolen money, which he found. Loco John, who brought Hanlon supplies, sneaks out of their hiding place through a secret passage and manages to steal Gene's rifle back from the outlaws, but is killed by one of them. Gene then shoots one of the outlaws and chases their horses away. The outlaws start a fire to drive Gene into the open, but Hanlon gets the dead outlaw's guns and covers Gene so that he can escape. Fargo then tries to shoot Gene, but is attacked by Champ. Once the outlaws are again in custody, Hanlon takes his money to another ghost town, and Gene takes Ruth to the dance as Hanlon had planned.
Alan Hale Jr.
John K. Butler
Gene Autry plays his father "Steve" in a flashback.