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When rodeo rider Shep crosses the California border into Mexicali, Mexico, he is followed by private detective Frazee. There, Shep, and later, Frazee join prospector Old Willy, horse breeder Jim Carey, and two other men, Chalk and Johnny, in a poker game in a bar. Shortly after Willy reminisces about a gold-carrying wagon train that was lost in the Walking Hills about a hundred years earlier, Johnny mentions that he stumbled over some buried wagon wheels while trapping animals in the California desert. To protect their interests, the men insist that everyone present, including Bibbs, the bartender; Josh, a blues singer; and Cleve, Jim's Indian ranch hand, join the expedition to find the gold. At first, because the sand dunes have shifted, Johnny cannot identify the location of the wagon wheels, but when the men discover an ox skull, they believe they have found the right place and begin digging. Shortly, they are joined by rodeo rider Chris Jackson, Jim's former lover. One night, Chris speaks privately to Shep and recalls their meeting at a rodeo when they fell suddenly in love. Chris then broke off her engagement to Jim in order to marry Shep, who later failed to meet her in Denver as they had arranged. Shep suggests that there may have been a reason he did not meet her, but before he can elaborate, they see a flashing light in the distance and rejoin the others. Although he does not admit it, Frazee was signaling someone. Cleve suspects that Frazee is a government agent, but Shep privately tells Chris that Frazee is planning to arrest him for murder: Sometime earlier, while waiting to meet Chris, Shep is accused of cheating in a poker game and gets into a fight with King, his accuser. During the fight, a bottle breaks in King's jacket, killing him. After Shep runs away, King's father hires Frazee, who has finally caught up with him here in the desert. Later, Johnny discovers Frazee's signaling box and during the ensuing fight, Johnny's back is broken, but he begs Jim not to send for a doctor because he is wanted by the police. The following day, when the light again flashes in the distance, Frazee explains that King is waiting for him in the distant hills. As the days pass, the men's failure to locate the gold results in short tempers and quarrelling. As a sand storm blows in, Frazee reveals that the charges against Johnny have been dropped, and then tries to prevent Shep from going for a doctor. Jim stops them from fighting, and learns for the first time that Shep is the man for whom Chris left him. After Johnny dies, the others round up the horses, planning to ride to shelter, but Chalk, who believes that Frazee is after him, stampedes the animals. Jim kills Chalk, but the full force of the storm arrives and the others are forced to ride it out where they are. When the storm is over, both Frazee and Cleve are dead. The storm also uncovers the wagons, but no gold is found. Shep decides to turn himself in, and Chris follows him. Jim then persuades Willy to reveal that he inspected the wagons before the others and found the gold, which he will now split with Jim.
Harry Joe Brown
M. W. Stoloff
Josh William's onscreen credit reads: "Introducing Josh Williams and his songs." The film begins with the following written statement: "We acknowledge the courtesy of the United States Department of Interior National Park Service for scenes photographed in Death Valley Monument." Other scenes were shot in Lone Pine, CA. A February 17, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Glenn Ford was to star. According to a July 26, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item, this was the first feature film to record sound on tape rather than on film. The Variety review notes that the film was sepia-toned, but this has not been confirmed.