Cast & Crew
Retired U.S. Marshal Buck Roberts is living a leisurely life at his Arizona ranch, when he receives a telegram from a friend asking his help in routing a band of outlaws from Mesa City. In Mesa City, meanwhile, stageline operator Ruth is about to lose her Wells Fargo business because her coaches are continually robbed. Ruth finally decides to give up when, having already lost her father to murder, her fiancé Joe returns with a gunshot wound in his shoulder, and reports that the miners' gold has been stolen. However, saloon keeper Steve Taggert is pleased by the news as he hopes to drive Ruth out of business so he can slowly gain control of the town. Steve is unhappy, however, when he sees Buck walk into his saloon, as Buck once arrested him. Buck assures Steve that he is only in town to pick up a herd of cattle, having quit working for the law. As they are talking, clergyman Colonel Tim McCall comes into the saloon and expresses his dismay that they are serving drinks on a Sunday. When a couple of cowboys try to intimidate Tim, he holds the entire saloon at gunpoint, and forces them all to sing a hymn. Afterward, Steve challenges Tim to a coin toss, betting Tim that if he loses, he will leave town. Tim convinces Steve to change the game to poker and wins, even though Steve uses a marked deck of cards. Buck, meanwhile, goes into the stage line office, and overhears two miners who are withdrawing their business out of fear of losing more ore, say that Steve will guarantee their shipments. Buck offers to help Ruth, and after talking with Joe, who is recuperating at the home of Ruth's aunt Miranda, Buck offers to drive the stagecoach if Ruth convinces the miners to give her one more chance. Before Buck leaves Miranda's house, Tim and cattle driver Sandy Hopkins come to visit Joe. Sandy wants to deliver Buck's cattle, but Buck asks him to delay for a day. After his spies inform him of Buck's plans to take the stagecoach over another route, Steve then schemes to frame Buck for all the robberies. The next day, Buck drives the stagecoach accompanied by Joe, who insists on guarding him despite his injury. Buck slows the horses so the jarring will not aggravate Joe's wound, and when they are stopped by Steve's masked bandits, Buck prevents Joe from firing at them, pointing out that they are outnumbered. As the outlaws leave with the gold shipment, one of them insinuates that Buck is working with them, and an outraged Joe forces Buck to return to town at gunpoint. Steve has embellished his scheme by placing two Wells Fargo sacks in Buck's saddlebags, so that Buck is immediately arrested when he returns to town. As an angry mob of citizens calls for his immediate hanging, Sandy visits Buck in jail to demand payment, and Buck uses the distraction to escape. Tim clears Buck's name by showing Ruth, Joe and the miners that Buck switched the express boxes before leaving town, and that the gold is safe in the Wells Fargo office. Tim names Steve as the real mastermind behind the robberies, and Steve soon learns that the stolen express box is filled with rocks, and readies for a shootout. Two of Steve's men come after the gold and barricade themselves inside the stage office. Sandy, Buck and Tim, who are actually old friends and former U.S. Marshals known as The Rough Riders and have reunited to work undercover, meet in the hills to strategize. Buck stampedes a herd of horses through town and rides in among them, then crashes through the window of the saloon. He captures Steve's gang of outlaws, while Tim captures the gunmen in the express office. Steve attempts to escape, but is shot by Buck outside. After rounding the gang up, Buck, Tim and Sandy follow the coach to the state line, where they meet a U.S. marshal who takes the prisoners. Joe and Ruth are also on the coach and are on their way to the next town to be married. The three Rough Riders then part ways, as Sandy heads back to Texas, Buck returns to his Arizona ranch, and Tim heads for his home in Wyoming.
I. Stanford Jolley
C. J. Bigelow
Scott R. Dunlap
The working title of this film was Rough Riders. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was shot on location in Arizona. This is the first film in "The Rough Riders" series, which featured Buck Jones, Tim McCoy and Raymond Hatton in recurring roles as U.S. Marshals. In the 1942 "Rough Riders" film Dawn on the Great Divide (see below), Rex Bell replaced Tim McCoy, as McCoy was being inducted into the U.S. Army. Dawn on the Great Divide was also the final film in the series, and marked Buck Jones's last screen appearance. Jones died in a fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub on November 28, 1942. There were nine films in the series, the last six of which were directed by Howard P. Bretherton. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index.