Cast & Crew
When outlaw Dirk Mason robs and kills a railroad agent carrying mail, federal law enforcement agents Hopalong Cassidy, California Carlson and Johnny Nelson are sent to arrest him. Mason seeks protection from banker Jeb Hardin, who hired him to rob the mail, but Hardin refuses to help and Mason is captured in a saloon. Acting on orders from Hardin, Joe Brass, the head of a vigilante committee, murders Mason when he attempts to escape, and claims self-defense. Hardin and Brass compete with Hoppy for the reward, and Hardin relents only after Hoppy agrees to invest the money locally. Having convinced his partners that it is time to give up their guns and settle down, Hoppy considers buying the Whitlock ranch, which Hardin is selling. Lin Whitlock and his sister Lucy have no intention of selling the ranch, however, and claim that Hardin is driving them from their property because they cannot afford to pay him the water rights fee. Hoppy, California and Johnny agree to a partnership with the Whitlocks, and while Johnny goes into town to wire their resignations to the federal marshals, California goes to pay the water bill. He is sidetracked in the saloon by oil prospector Wildcat Willy, who convinces him to use the $500 intended for the water bill to drill for oil on the ranch. All the ranch partners are furious at California, but he reassures them that Hardin has promised to hold their bill for thirty days. After two weeks, Wildcat Willy strikes water on the ranch, but Hardin has already shut off the water that is pumped in and demands payment of his bill. Hoppy offers to give Hardin some cattle as payment, a legally accepted method of payment in the state, but Hardin refuses and claims that as head of the Cattlemen's Association, he has deemed their cattle unfit for sale. Hoppy then calls a meeting of the local ranchers to form their own association, but Hardin distracts them by sabotaging the Whitlock herd and claiming that Hoppy is trying to sell stolen cattle. Before they can be arrested as cattle thieves, Hoppy, Johnny and Lin go into hiding. That night they slip back to the ranch and ask Wildcat Willy to reveal everything he knows about Hardin. Wildcat states that Hardin had Mason killed so he would not expose Hardin's affiliation with him. Hoppy speculates that Hardin, who quit marketing the ranchers' cattle immediately after the mail robbery, sold only his own cattle and stole the mail because it contained his contracts. Hoppy's suspicions are confirmed after he, Johnny and Lin break into Hardin's office and find the contracts for cattle. Hoppy then formulates a plan to entrap Hardin, in which California tells Hardin that Hoppy and his partners are ready to turn themselves in. While Hardin sends his "vigilante" gang after them, Hoppy, Johnny and Lin slip into town and bind and gag Hardin. Hoppy then gives the contracts to Lucy, who forms a posse after showing the ranchers the evidence. After a gunfight at the ranch, Hoppy singlehandedly beats Hardin, and the posse arrests the outlaws. Later, Hoppy, California and Johnny leave the Whitlocks when they get news of another friend in need.
Fred W. Berger
Richard L. Johnston
Lewis J. Rachmil
Producer Harry Sherman's daughter Lois made her screen debut in this film. Although various sources list her under her stage name, Gayle Lord, she is listed onscreen as Lois Sherman. The picture also marks the introduction of the character "Wildcat Willy," played by Earle Hodgins, as a regular in the series. The film was shot on location at Lone Pine, CA. Modern sources include Russell Simpson, Jack Mulhall, Fred Kohler, Jr., Henry Wills, William Gould, Jack Shannon, Tex Cooper, Art Dillard, Roy Bucko, Blackjack Ward and Dewey Robinson in the cast. For further information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy in the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1990.