Cast & Crew
On a trail near the Mexican border, an outlaw signals to a passing stagecoach to stop. The outlaw claims that his horse is lame, but when the driver climbs down to examine the animal, the outlaw knocks him over the head. After the outlaw is shot by one of the passengers inside the stage, Jimmy Wakely and his partner,"Cannonball" Taylor, who are riding nearby and have heard the gunshot, decide to investigate. Upon finding the stage, Jimmy regretfully informs passengers Sally Blaine and her younger brother Steven that their father Ed has been murdered. Jimmy explains that after he was accused of stealing silver from his place of employment, the Sloan-Carson Mine, Ed was killed by the guards. Jimmy decides to fetch a doctor for the wounded outlaw, then notices Cannonball casting a plaster mold of a hoof print left behind by the outlaw's horse. Cannonball, who has enrolled in a correspondence course for would-be detectives, explains that the cast will satisfy a course requirement. Later, while Carson eavesdrops from an adjacent room, Steven demands an explanation about his father's death from Sloan. Before Sloan can implicate his partner, Carson shoots him and then escapes quickly through a hidden door in the floor. By the time Steven rushes into the room, Carson has disappeared, and Steven is eventually charged with murder. When she hears about the charge, Sally tells the sheriff that while he was still young, Steven accidentally shot and killed his best friend. The incident was so traumatic, she explains, that he has been unable to handle a gun ever since. Despite her plea, Steven's case is rushed to trial, and he is condemned to death. Sometime later, Carson and his gang resume their practice of smuggling ore into the mine through an entrance located in Mexico. The ore is then removed from an entrance located on the United States side, where it can be sold for a much higher price than it would fetch in Mexico. When Jimmy and Cannonball arrive at the mine, Carson's henchman, Lewis, begins shooting at them. Meanwhile, Sally slips a gun into Steven's cell so that he can escape. Later, Jimmy promises Sally and Steven that he will question Joe Bardet, the man suspected of selling the ore to Carson. When they find Bardet and his men, however, Jimmy and Cannonball are kidnapped and taken to the gang's hideout. After they are tied up, Jimmy and Cannonball use a magnifying glass to burn through their ropes and escape. Later, Jimmy, Cannonball, Sally and Steven go to investigate the mine, but are attacked by the gang. After Jimmy's gun is knocked to the ground in front of Steven, Steven hesitates, but then overcomes his fear, grabs the gun and shoots one of the outlaws, after which the gang is apprehended. Later, when he receives a new bulletproof vest in the mail, Cannonball decides to test the vest by shooting himself. The bullet easily pierces the vest, but is stopped short by the correspondence course booklet folded up inside his breast pocket.
This film's working titles were Frontier Fear and Ridin' the Rio Grande. The picture marked the screen debut of actress Polly Bergen, who was billed onscreen as Polly Burgin. Modern sources add Ben Corbett and Frank Ellis to the cast.