Law of the West (1949)

54 mins | Western | 20 February 1949

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HISTORY

This film's working title was Outlaw Marshal . A modern source adds Frank Ellis to the ... More Less

This film's working title was Outlaw Marshal . A modern source adds Frank Ellis to the cast. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 48
p. 12.
Variety
1 Jun 49
p. 11.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Outlaw Marshal
Release Date:
20 February 1949
Production Date:
mid December 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
20 February 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2173
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
54
Length(in feet):
4,829
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

At Alibi Jenkins' General Store, several ranchers complain about losing their ranches to real estate agent Henry Burke, who bought them from land agent Dan Nixon, after Nixon found flaws in their land titles. When rancher Barry Lane and his daughter come to the store to pick up their mail, Sheriff Al Simpson tells Lane that Nixon wants to see him. Nixon informs them that they, too, have lost their ranch as the land claim was never filed by the previous owner, and that Burke now owns their ranch. Lane wants to go after Burke right then, but Nixon persuades him that gunfire will not solve anything, as the papers are legally correct. After Nixon advises Lane to contact the federal authorities, Burke tells Nixon, who is in cahoots with him, that he is crazy to give such advice but their henchman, Mike, will make sure that Lane never reaches the state capital. Meanwhile, the vacationing Johnny Mack, a federal marshal, visits his old friend Alibi, who tells him about the local troubles and tries to persuade him to stay around. Johnny insists that he only wants to go fishing, but later, when three gunmen, Drago and brothers Mike and Spence chase after Lane, Johnny rides to help him. Johnny shoots Spence, but is unable to prevent Lane from being killed. Johnny finds documents on Lane's body and returns to tell Alibi that he will be staying around for a while, working undercover. Alibi then introduces Johnny to Lane's daughter Tennessee, who is in the store, and Johnny sadly gives her the news of her father's killing. After Alibi speculates that Burke was in involved in Lane's murder, Johnny ... +


At Alibi Jenkins' General Store, several ranchers complain about losing their ranches to real estate agent Henry Burke, who bought them from land agent Dan Nixon, after Nixon found flaws in their land titles. When rancher Barry Lane and his daughter come to the store to pick up their mail, Sheriff Al Simpson tells Lane that Nixon wants to see him. Nixon informs them that they, too, have lost their ranch as the land claim was never filed by the previous owner, and that Burke now owns their ranch. Lane wants to go after Burke right then, but Nixon persuades him that gunfire will not solve anything, as the papers are legally correct. After Nixon advises Lane to contact the federal authorities, Burke tells Nixon, who is in cahoots with him, that he is crazy to give such advice but their henchman, Mike, will make sure that Lane never reaches the state capital. Meanwhile, the vacationing Johnny Mack, a federal marshal, visits his old friend Alibi, who tells him about the local troubles and tries to persuade him to stay around. Johnny insists that he only wants to go fishing, but later, when three gunmen, Drago and brothers Mike and Spence chase after Lane, Johnny rides to help him. Johnny shoots Spence, but is unable to prevent Lane from being killed. Johnny finds documents on Lane's body and returns to tell Alibi that he will be staying around for a while, working undercover. Alibi then introduces Johnny to Lane's daughter Tennessee, who is in the store, and Johnny sadly gives her the news of her father's killing. After Alibi speculates that Burke was in involved in Lane's murder, Johnny visits Burke's office and is there when Charley Lane, Tennessee's brother, comes in, gun drawn and looking for revenge. Johnny disarms Charley and sends him on his way, and Burke, thinking that Johnny is a gunman, hires him as a bodyguard. Tennessee and Charley regard Johnny's working for Burke as a betrayal while Mike is also displeased, as he recognizes him as the man who shot his brother. At night, Johnny breaks into Burke's office and finds papers about the proposed extension of the railroad to the area, which explains Burke's interest in acquiring land. Later, Burke, afraid for his life, announces to Nixon that he wants out of the deal, complaining that Nixon is in the clear, but that he is not. Nixon, who desires the land for himself, orders Mike to shoot Burke and frame Charley for the murder. After Burke is killed and Charley arrested, Johnny is without a job and Mike decides to kill him with Drago's help. However, Johnny outwits Mike and shoots Drago Mike escapes unharmed, however. The sheriff, aware that Johnny is a marshal working undercover, declines to arrest him. Meanwhile, Nixon promises Tennessee and Alibi that he will help exonerate Charley and states that Johnny is the real killer. Alibi lets slip that Johnny is a marshal, but is able to warn Johnny of his error. However, Mike has already rounded up a gang of gunmen, who chase after Johnny and Alibi. During a lengthy gunfight, Johnny disposes of most of the gang, then asks Alibi to use his skills as a ventriloquist to trick the remaining gunmen into thinking that they are surrounded by the sheriff's posse. Johnny captures Mike and persuades him that Nixon was double -crossing him and had asked Johnny to kill him. Johnny lets Mike go, then rushes into town for the showdown between Mike and Nixon. The sheriff eavesdrops as they incriminate each other, and Mike slugs Nixon as Johnny and the sheriff enter. Mike and Nixon draw their guns, but the sheriff kills Mike while Johnny wounds Nixon, ensuring that he will be alive for a trial. Later, at Alibi's store, Johnny reads in a newspaper account of the trial that Nixon was convicted. Tennessee and Charley thank Johnny, who then rides off to resume his vacation. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.