Cast & Crew
When Marshal Dave Upjohn comes to Sundown County to investigate allegations that Sheriff Arnold, the county's peace officer, is corrupt, Arnold and his thugs murder him and then blame his death on a band of rustlers known as the Chimney Hole Gang. While out riding, Dr. Jed Mitchell, the county coroner, discovers Upjohn's body and searches the dead man's personal effects. After finding his name among Upjohn's papers, Mitchell notifies rancher Steve Carlton about his friend's murder. Steve rides to Sundown County to investigate, and is greeted by Mitchell, who informs him of the lawlessness being fostered by Arnold and his gang of deputies. To illustrate his point, Mitchell takes Steve to the trial of Fledge Cady, one of Arnold's deputies who has been accused of robbing a stage. Feeling intimidated by the sheriff, the passengers from the stage refuse to identify Cady as their assailant. Steve, however, recognizes Cady as a criminal named Black Jack Kelly who is wanted in Texas, and stands and accuses him. Impressed by the newcomer's courage, Judge Malotte deputizes Steve as marshal and gives him custody of the prisoner. Later, Steve comes into conflict with Arnold when his deputies threaten a family who are leaving the territory because of their inability to pay the steep taxes levied by the sheriff. When one of the deputies pulls a gun on him, Steve shoots the man, thus earning Arnold's enmity. Mitchell then offers to escort the family and Steve's prisoner to a nearby fort and tells Steve about the rustlers' hideout which is rumored to be at Chimney Hole. While riding to Chimney Hole to investigate, Steve is ambushed by Arnold's men, who empty his gun of bullets and then force him to ride defenseless into a narrow pass, hoping that the alleged rustlers will kill him. As he enters the pass, Steve is stopped by Laurie Bishop and her sister Buckshot. After Steve explains his predicament, Harmony Haines, another resident of Chimney Hole, drives up in his wagon with Midge, a young crippled girl. Startled by the sound of gunfire, Harmony's horses bolt, and after Steve rescues the little girl, Laurie invites him to accompany her the town of Chimney Rock. Soon after, the townsmen, led by Lucky Shelton, Laurie's sweetheart, return from a trip to Mexico. Noticing that Lucky is riding Upjohn's horse, Steve becomes supsicious. Laurie invites Steve to join them for dinner, and that night, Lucky relates the story of how his and Laurie's fathers founded the town of Chimney Hole as a refuge from Arnold and his lawlessness. Although Laurie longs to see the world beyond the mountains, Lucky is content to remain in his isolated community. Later, Steve lures Lucky into the countryside, and after accusing him of Upjohn's murder, ties him to a tree. After returning to the stables, Steve questions Harmony about Lucky's horse. When Harmony recalls finding the horse wandering riderless and presenting it as a gift to Lucky, Steve begins to suspect that Arnold was involved in Upjohn's murder. Realizing that Lucky has told him the truth about the peaceful nature of Chimney Hole, Steve releases him. Having informed Lucky of his suspicions, Steve tries to enlist his help in defeating Arnold and his men, but Lucky refuses, claiming that he is happy in Chimney Hole. Overhearing their conversation, Laurie rallies the women of Chimey Hole to support Steve and convince their husbands to reject their isolationism and fight for freedom. After he and Steve squabble, Lucky relents and agrees to work with Steve. In Arnold's town, the sheriff is busy with his re-election campaign when Lucky enters his office and offers to pay his back taxes in exchange for being welcomed back to town. When the sheriff and his thugs seize Lucky's gold and accuse him of murder, Steve and the men from Chimney Hole appear and overpower Arnold and his men. Arnold and his gang are found guilty of Upjohn's murder, and Judge Malotte appoints Lucky as the new sheriff. With law and order restored and his friend's murder avenged, Steve rides out of town and back to his ranch.
Norma Jean Wooters
The working title of this film was Valley of Lawless Men. Modern sources add Art Mix, Ben Corbett, John L. Carson, Carl Sepulveda and Frank Ellis to the cast.