Whistling Hills (1951)

58-59 mins | Western | 7 October 1951

Director:

Derwin Abrahams

Writer:

Fred Myton

Cinematographer:

Ernest Miller

Editor:

Sam Fields

Production Designer:

David Milton

Production Company:

Frontier Pictures
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HISTORY

The working title for this film was Ghost Raiders . Modern sources add Frank Ellis, Ray Jones and Merrill McCormack to the cast, but their appearance in the finished film has not been ... More Less

The working title for this film was Ghost Raiders . Modern sources add Frank Ellis, Ray Jones and Merrill McCormack to the cast, but their appearance in the finished film has not been confirmed. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
3 Aug 1951.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Aug 1951.
---
Variety
27 Aug 1951.
---
Variety
26 Dec 1951
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Dial dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
From a story by
From a story by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Settings by
MUSIC
Mus dir
SOUND
Rec eng
PRODUCTION MISC
Set cont
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Ghost Raiders
Release Date:
7 October 1951
Production Date:
began early August 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Monogram Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
7 October 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1241
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
58-59
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15504
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When U.S. marshal Johnny Mack Brown accuses a man named Brown in the Copper City saloon of stealing his horse Rebel, local sheriff Dave Holland is called to resolve the dispute. After Johnny shows Dave his nameplate on Rebel’s saddle, Dave orders Brown out of town. Just then, a stage tears into town bearing a wounded man. The driver, Pete, claims that after a ghost whistled from a ridge above the coach, three masked outlaws shot the guard and robbed the stage. Stage owner Chet Norman then explains that a series of similar robberies has occurred to his stagecoaches. Recognizing Johnny as famous crime fighter, Chet hires him to protect future shipments and uncover the mystery. Although Dave resents Johnny’s intervention, he rides with him to investigate the scene of the last robbery. After Johnny finds a distinctive footprint that reveals one of the outlaws has an odd heel plate, he and Dave separate to follow different trails. When Johnny hears a shot, he finds Dave wounded. Meanwhile in town, Slade, one of the outlaws, brings the gold to banker Roger Claine, who is secretly the outlaw gang leader. At the stage office, Chet tells his niece Beth Fairchild, who is also Dave’s fiancée, that the stage insurance policy will be canceled if they are robbed again, thus forcing him to close the business. When Johnny returns to the office with Dave, Beth tends to his wounds. Chet then introduces Claine as a family friend to Johnny and proceeds to tell the group that a mine payroll is coming through on Thursday. Later at the saloon, Claine enlists Brown in his gang and then orders his men to start ... +


When U.S. marshal Johnny Mack Brown accuses a man named Brown in the Copper City saloon of stealing his horse Rebel, local sheriff Dave Holland is called to resolve the dispute. After Johnny shows Dave his nameplate on Rebel’s saddle, Dave orders Brown out of town. Just then, a stage tears into town bearing a wounded man. The driver, Pete, claims that after a ghost whistled from a ridge above the coach, three masked outlaws shot the guard and robbed the stage. Stage owner Chet Norman then explains that a series of similar robberies has occurred to his stagecoaches. Recognizing Johnny as famous crime fighter, Chet hires him to protect future shipments and uncover the mystery. Although Dave resents Johnny’s intervention, he rides with him to investigate the scene of the last robbery. After Johnny finds a distinctive footprint that reveals one of the outlaws has an odd heel plate, he and Dave separate to follow different trails. When Johnny hears a shot, he finds Dave wounded. Meanwhile in town, Slade, one of the outlaws, brings the gold to banker Roger Claine, who is secretly the outlaw gang leader. At the stage office, Chet tells his niece Beth Fairchild, who is also Dave’s fiancée, that the stage insurance policy will be canceled if they are robbed again, thus forcing him to close the business. When Johnny returns to the office with Dave, Beth tends to his wounds. Chet then introduces Claine as a family friend to Johnny and proceeds to tell the group that a mine payroll is coming through on Thursday. Later at the saloon, Claine enlists Brown in his gang and then orders his men to start a fight with Johnny. During the fight, Johnny spots Slade’s heel and recognizes the odd heel plate. On Thursday, Johnny rides on the payroll stage as a guard and spots a masked rider wearing a cape whistling from the hills above. Johnny quickly jumps from the stage and hides in nearby bushes. When the outlaws approach, Johnny fires his gun, and the canyon echo amplifies his gunshots, leading the outlaws to think that a large posse is nearing and flee. Later that day, while Beth takes Johnny on a tour of the countryside, she explains the Spanish legend of the whistling hills: When a wealthy young woman rode off a cliff to her death to avoid being caught by outlaws, her grief-stricken lover rode off the cliff as well. Both lovers carried silver whistles to signal each other for special trysts and consequently, their ghosts whistle back and forth to each other through the hills. As Johnny comments that the whistling ghost could be either a man or a woman, they hear gunshots nearby and Johnny orders Beth to return to town while he investigates. Johnny spots three men, and recognizes one of them as Brown. The outlaws chase Johnny, but suddenly disperse when Johnny meets Beth. Johnny and Beth return to the livery stable, where she feigns dizziness and falls into Johnny’s arms just as Dave approaches. Dave becomes insanely jealous and refuses to work on the case with Johnny, but relents after Johnny insists he harbors no amorous intentions toward Beth. Later, Johnny, suspicious of Claine, surreptitiously follows a man from Claine’s office to a hideout. He then returns to town and formulates a trap for the outlaws with Dave and Chet. Chet arranges for money to be loaded onto a coach and parked on the main street in town, thus insuring that Claine will witness the transfer of funds. Later that afternoon, as the coach passes through Coyote Pass and the whistle is heard, Johnny, Dave and a special posse gather in the hills. When the outlaws ambush the stage, the posse swoops down on them. When Dave shoots and unmasks the mysterious rider, he is shocked to discover that Beth was the whistling bandit. Meanwhile, Johnny orders the posse to arrest the outlaws while he rides to capture Claine. Back in town, Claine collects his money and then kills Slade to avoid splitting the profits. As Claine is about to leave his office, Johnny appears at the door and arrests him. Johnny then takes Claine to Chet’s office. Dave arrives soon after and tells Chet that Beth was the whistling bandit and Dave shot her before knowing the truth. Incredulous, Chet asks Dave why Beth turned against him. Dave explains: Beth told Dave in confidence that when her father Sam became ill, she believed Chet forced Sam to change his will to leave the business to Chet. Beth also blamed Chet for Sam’s early death. Chet then exhibits a letter from Sam which asked Chet to manage the business until Beth was sufficiently mature enough to take over. Chet and Dave are both shocked and distraught about the misunderstanding. Johnny, unable to help them with their grief, leaves town to solve other mysteries. +

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.