Cast & Crew
José, a young Talnec Indian, is accused of rustling by ranchers Dan Morgan and Bill Kane, and is rescued by rancher Hopalong Cassidy and his partners, California Carlson and Lucky Jenkins. In reality, Morgan's men have been rustling local cattle while dressed as Indians, and Morgan has been blaming the crimes on an elusive band of Indians, called "ghost" Indians, who live a secluded life on a mesa. In town, Hoppy meets young Dr. Sue Harmon, an archaeologist who has come to study artifacts of the Talnecs to prove her father's theory that they are direct descendents of the Aztecs. With Sue is Dr. Grimes Atwood, who is leading the exhibition into the Talnec territory. Because Hoppy gives his word that white men will not touch the sacred Talnec burial grounds, which are filled with invaluable treasures, Xeoli, the tribal chief and José's grandfather, agrees to let the expedition take place. Morgan refuses to let the archaeologists pass through his ranch, until Atwood learns from Hoppy that he is behind the rustling and makes a pact with Morgan to protect him if he will help him ravage the burial grounds. In order to distract Hoppy, Sue and the others while he rustles a herd through the hills, Morgan stages an Indian raid in which the expedition's camp is set on fire. Hoppy sees Atwood flee before the raid, and becomes suspicious of him. While searching for the burial grounds, Morgan and Atwood see José, who realizes what they are doing, and Morgan shoots him to prevent him from warning the other Indians. Xeoli mistakenly believes that Hoppy is responsible for wounding his grandson and betraying the tribe, but José makes an oath on his life that Hoppy is their friend. The oath requires a human sacrifice by fire if José is wrong, and Xeoli decides to make Hoppy take José's place as the sacrificial victim. Hoppy peacefully disarms Xeoli, however, and refuses to accompany him back to the ritual site, and so Xeoli decides to take José's place himself. Although José maintains that Morgan is the one who shot him, his sister Talu lures California, whom she believes to be Hoppy, back to the Indian camp for the sacrifice. Meanwhile, as Hoppy attempts to stop Morgan and Atwood from robbing the graves, the Indians prepare to burn California. Hoppy comes to the rescue in time, and engages in a gunfight with Morgan and his men. Atwood is killed while trying to steal from the Indians' altar and falls into the fire pit. Hoppy and Lucky bring down the gang, and Lucky, who has been made a deputy, arrests Morgan. On Hoppy's advice, the Talnecs then move off the mesa to live in the valley with the white man.
Fred W. Berger
Harvey T. Gillett
Lewis J. Rachmil
Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)
Born in Oakland, California on March 23, 1917, Tobey originally intended to be a lawyer before a stint with the University of California Little Theater changed his mind. From there, he went straight to New York and spent nearly two years studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse, where his classmates included Gregory Peck, Eli Wallach and Tony Randall. Throughout the '40s, Tobey acted on Broadway and in stock before relocating to Hollywood. Once there, Tobey soon found himself playing a tough soldier in films like I Was a Male War Bride and Twelve O' Clock High (both 1949); or a tough police officer in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Three Secrets (both 1950). Such roles were hardly surprising, given Tobey's craggy features, unsmiling countenance and rough voice.
Needless to say, no-nonsense, authority figures would be Tobey's calling for the remainder of his career; yet given the right role, he had the talent to make it memorable: the smart, likeable Captain Hendrey in The Thing From Another World (1951); the gallant Colonel Jack Evans in the "prehistoric dinosaur attacks an urban center" genre chiller The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953, a must-see film for fans of special effects wizard, Ray Harryhausen; and as Bat Masterson, holding his own against Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster in Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957).
Television would also offer Tobey much work: he had his own action series as chopper pilot Chuck Martin in Whirlybirds (1957-59); and had a recurring role as Assistant District Attorney Alvin in Perry Mason (1957-66). He would also be kept busy with guest appearances in countless westerns (Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian) and cop shows (The Rockford Files, Barnaby Jones, Ironside) for the next two decades. Most amusingly, the tail end of Tobey's career saw some self-deprecating cameo spots in such contemporary shockers as The Howling (1981); Strange Invaders (1983) and his role reprisal of Captain Hendry in The Attack of the B-Movie Monsters (2002). Tobey is survived by a daughter, two stepchildren, and two grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Kenneth Tobey (1917-2003)
Some of this film's scenes were shot on location in Lone Pine, CA. For additional information on the series, consult the Series Index and see the entry for Hop-Along Cassidy in the American Film Institute Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.1990.