Hellhounds of the Plains
Cast & Crew
In Apache City, Arizona, widowed horse rancher "Big" John Lawson is frustrated by Sheriff Barnes' inability to capture the "Hell Hounds," a gang of horse thieves who are raiding his herd. After Barnes asks deputy "Yak" Hammond to lead the investigation following the most recent raid, Yak tracks the herd, then instructs Barnes to close in from behind, while he rides ahead. At the same time, Matt Lawson, the estranged son of Big John and the secret leader of the gang, orders his men to trap Yak and Barnes. Matt and his gang murder Barnes, after which the sheriff's horse carries his body back to town. Matt's half-sister Esther, who is in love with Yak, fears Matt will harm him if she does not give in to his demand for his share of their mother's inheritance. When Big John sees Esther leaving the bank with a withdrawal, he questions her, but she implies that she is only attending to private matters. Esther attempts to meet Matt with the money, but her horse is spooked by the herd and runs out of control, throwing her over the edge of a cliff and into a lake. Yak, who is riding nearby, rescues the grateful Esther from drowning. In town, Big John publicly announces that that whoever captures the outlaws will be the next sheriff; weeks later, however, the outlaws continue unabated. Esther tries to convince Yak to give up the manhunt for his own safety, but he refuses. One evening he asks Big John's permission to marry Esther, but her father insists that Barnes's killer must first be captured. One night, Matt secretly meets Esther outside the house to retrieve his money. Yak, who is visiting Big John, sees Matt riding away but is unable to identify him. While Big John is away on business, a suspicious Yak watches the house. Matt returns for the rest of his money and escapes with Esther's help before Yak can see his face. However, Yak finds a crumpled note with Matt's initials, instructing Esther to meet him at a cabin. Yak immediately rides to the cabin where, with the help of his horse Boy, he captures and handcuffs two of Matt's gang members. The men knock out Yak and flee, and after Yak recovers, he pursues and intercepts Matt. Matt resists arrest and after a struggle with Yak, attempts to escape but falls off a cliff to his death. Big John, meanwhile, has returned from his trip and meets Esther and their ranchhands on the trail. Leaving Esther behind for her own safety, Big John and his men re-capture the two gang members. At a cross roads, Yak encounters Big John and Esther, and Big John is horrified to find that the dead outlaw is his own son. Esther explains to Yak that Big John had disowned Matt after he was arrested for highway robbery, and that she attempted to spare her father disgrace by giving in to Matt's demands. Later, Yak apologizes to Esther for killing her brother, and she assures him of her continuing love.
The film's title is listed in the 1927 FDYB as Hellhound of the Plain. Some modern sources list the film's title as Hell Hounds of the Plains. There were no opening credits on the viewed print. Cast credits were taken from inter-titles. The film opens with the following written prologue: "In the early days of the American South-West, there existed in Apache Basin, Arizona, a band of marauding horse thieves who were known as the "Hell Hounds." Modern sources include the following actors in the cast: Lee Meehan, Bud Osborne and Cliff Lyons.