Cast & Crew
In the midst of a violent dust storm, Bart Jones rides into the town of Hartwell then is warned by Sheriff Pete Coulton to leave before the ranchers discover that he was responsible for the death of their beloved leader, Red Jim Rorick. Ignoring the sheriff, Jones proceeds to the local saloon, where a fight is brewing between Brass Flood and the insolent Feylan brothers, all of whom work for the Cattlemen's Association, an organization that opposes small ranchers. After Jones prevents the impending gunfight, the town's small ranchers, led by Capt. Cruikshank, ask him to join them in their fight against Major Bonnard, the big-time rancher who has been fencing off the range and who has hired Flood to enforce his edicts. Jones turns a deaf ear to their entreaties when he learns that the ranchers considered Rorick their savior against Bonnard's forces, but changes his mind when an attractive female rancher offers to sell him the Easy 8 Ranch for one dollar if he will lead them against Bonnard. Jones regrets his decision, however, as soon as he discovers that the woman is Rorick's widow Tay, who is unaware that Jones killed her husband. When Coulton, who is in love with Tay, learns of Jones's agreement with the ranchers, he threatens to expose him as Rorick's killer, but Jones insists that Rorick was drunk on the night of their gunfight and fired two shots first. That night, the ranchers, led by Jones, begin to dismantle Bonnard's fences and are fired at by the Cattlemen's Association gunmen. When Tom Milstead, one of the ranchers, is killed, a contrite Bonnard asks to meet with Jones to discuss a truce. Meanwhile, Tay, who finds herself attracted to Jones, comes to his ranch, but after they kiss, he cautions that she should forget him. When Harry, Rorick's brother, learns of Tay's encounter, he declares that he is in love with her and then roughly forces himself on her. Tay pushes him away, but when Jones hears about the assault, he confronts Harry and a fight ensues. At his meeting with Jones, Bonnard apologizes for Milstead's death, but nevertheless refuses to take down his fences. Soon after, The Apache Kid, a cold-blooded killer hired by Bonnard to scare the ranchers into submission, rides into town, bent on settling an old score with Jones. At the saloon, The Kid encounters Harry and informs him that Jones killed his brother. After Harry, simmering with resentment, leaves the bar, Coulton warns Bonnard that The Kid is uncontrollable, but Bonnard ignores him. Harry immediately calls a meeting of the ranchers and denounces Jones as his brother's killer. After asserting that Rorick drew first, Jones leaves the meeting and Tay sobs with disenchantment. Later, Frank Cooper, Jones's friend and neighbor, brings his son Bud into town to see the doctor, and in a show of power, The Kid antagonizes him and then guns him down in cold blood. Aghast, Bonnard orders The Kid to leave town, and when The Kid contemptuously defies him, Bonnard offers to come to terms with the ranchers and tear down his fences. Realizing that they need Jones to protect them from The Kid, Cruikshank rides to Jones's ranch. Harry, bent on revenge, follows and begins to fire at Jones, preventing him from leaving. After Cruikshank wounds Harry, he and Jones ride to town to confront The Kid. In Hartwell, meanwhile, Coulton is wounded by the Feylan brothers while trying to protect Bonnard. Just as Bonnard tries to arrest The Kid, Jones arrives and guns him down in the ensuing gunfight. After Cruikshank and Bonnard restrain the Feylan brothers, Jones says goodbye to Coulton and gives him his blessing to court Tay. As he rides out of town, Tay watches longingly.
Jean Ann Lewis
E. J. Baumgarten
The working title of this film was The Man from Abilene. Although a Hollywood Reporter news item places Joe Becker in the cast, his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. Storm Rider marked Scott Brady's sole credit as a producer.