Cast & Crew
In the American Southwest of the 1890s, a young, disillusioned Jason Bond steals a ride aboard a freight train, hoping to find peace and quiet in Mexico. Along the way, Jason meets some migrant workers who urge him to work the corn harvest with them, but he rejects their offer and remains true to his determination to avoid all human contact. Although he manages to avoid people for a time, Jim soon becomes involved in an intrigue when he finds a cache of weapons and a frightened horse in box car. After calming the horse, Jim notices that the car in which he has been riding has been suspiciously unhitched from the rest of the train. The car comes to stop near El Rey, Texas, a small horse-raising town, where Jason meets the lovely Ginny Long. Ginny, who has been waiting for the train's arrival, enlists Jason's help in unloading her horse, named Black Eagle, and the weapons. While helping her, Jason learns that the rifles are intended to arm a group of local horse ranchers, led by Benny Lawton, who have been cheated by stock swindler Frank Hayden. Later, Hayden, who ordered his henchman Si to kill Ginny's brother Ned because he was one of Lawton's men, blackmails Jason into working for him by threatening to frame him for Ned's murder. Determined to stay in Hayden's employ only until he can prove his innocence, Jason goes to work for him. When Jason discovers that Hayden is planning a raid on the horse ranchers' horses, he interrupts a town dance to warn the ranchers, advising them to hide their horses. Hayden, meanwhile, learns that the horses are missing and suspects that Jason, whom he sees as a trouble-maker, is behind their disappearance. Si is sent by Hayden to kill Jason, a murder that Hayden plans to pin on Ned, whose body has turned up near the railroad tracks. The murder attempt is foiled, however, when Black Eagle recognizes Si as the man who murdered Ned and forces him over a cliff. Shortly thereafter, Hayden's henchman, Hank Daniels, the telegraph operator, confesses his guilt and points to Hayden as the mastermind of the operation. Hayden tries to flee but is killed by stampeding horses. With the stolen money returned to the ranchers, Jason hops on the next train leaving town and is reunited with his hobo pals.
Paul E. Burns
Some contemporary sources refer to this film as Black Eagle, without the subtitle. The O. Henry short story on which this film was based was first filmed in 1915 as a two-reel short entitled Black Eagle, directed by Will Louis and starring Margaret Prussing and Richard Tucker.