Cast & Crew
Elisha Cook Jr.
As a forest fire rages, Forest Service ranger Don Bradley disobeys Chief Sanford's orders so that he can rescue two horses from a burning building. Don emerges safely, and later, he gets a promotion and is put in charge of the Dark Mountain district, while his friend Willie is appointed as his assistant. As soon as Don gets his first one-week furlough, he visits his longtime girl friend Kay. After Don proposes marriage, Kay reveals that she has recently married wholesaler Steve Downey. Don is disappointed by the news and returns to Dark Mountain immediately. Kay soon learns that her new husband is actually a black market profiteer. When government agent Dave Lewis comes to investigate Steve's operation, Steve's thug, Whitey, purposely drops a crate on him, and later deposits the body on the highway so his death will look like an accident. Kay is mortified to realize that she has married a racketeer and tries to leave Steve. He refuses to release her, however, and she is with him when he murders one of his own men, who is being questioned by the police. After the police shoot Whitey, Steve cold-bloodedly kills him and then escapes with Kay. Steve advises Kay that she will be implicated in the crimes, as her name is on his warehouse lease. He insists that they split up, and confused and frightened, Kay seeks out Don. Unaware of the murders, Don lets her stay at a cabin near his look-out station in the mountains until she is ready to turn herself in to the police. Steve follows Kay to the cabin and threatens to kill her and Don if she reveals his presence. While police throw out a dragnet to track down Steve and Kay, Don brings Kay food, but becomes increasingly suspicious that she is not alone. Finally convinced of Steve's presence, Don and Willie plan to draw Steve out of hiding without compromising Kay by sending out a fake message over the shortwave radio that police are closing in on Steve near the Mexican border. Hearing the report, Steve immediately leaves, but takes Kay hostage and escapes in Don's truck, which is loaded with dynamite. Willie's dog Luther chases the truck, leaps inside, and attacks Steve. After Kay and Luther jump out of the truck while it is still moving, Willie shoots out the tires. Steve crashes and dies in the ensuing explosion. Kay then happily reunites with Don.
Elisha Cook Jr.
Fred Jackman Jr.
William H. Pine
F. Paul Sylos
William C. Thomas
Ellen Drew, 1914-2003
She was born Esther Loretta "Terry" Ray on November 23, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri. The daughter of a barber, her family moved to Chicago when she was still an infant and she lived a very quiet childhood far removed from the glamour of Hollywood. She was encouraged by some friends to enter a beauty contest when she was just 17. After winning, she tried her luck in Hollywood, but found that they were no immediate offers for her particular talents.
She eventually took a waitressing job at C.C. Brown's, a famed Hollywood Boulevard soda fountain, and had virtually abandoned her dreams as a starlet when William Demarest, a popular actor's agent and well-known character actor, spotted her. Demarest arranged a screen test for her at Paramount, and she was promptly placed under contract for $50 a week.
For the first few years, (1936-38), Drew got only bit parts, and was often uncredited. When she finally got prominent billing in the Bing Crosby musical Sing You Sinners (1938), she decided to change her name, from Terry Ray to Ellen Drew. She earned her first major role in Frank Lloyd's If I Were King (1938) opposite Ronald Colman, yet for the most part of her career, rarely rose above "B" material and second leads. Still, she had some fine exceptions: Preston Sturges' enchanting comedy Christmas in July (1940), with Dick Powell; Tay Garnett's lighthearted war romp My Favorite Spy (1942) co-starring Kay Kyser; Julien Duvivier's taut The Imposter (1944), holding her own with a brooding Jean Gabin; and Mark Robson's chilling low-budget chiller Isle of the Dead (1945) opposite Boris Karloff. Drew made some notable television appearances in the late '50s including Perry Mason and The Barbara Stanwyck Show, before retiring from the entertainment industry. She is survived by her son David; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
by Michael T. Toole
Ellen Drew, 1914-2003
The working titles of this film were Thunderbolt and Thunder Mountain. An April 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that actor Dick Purcell died of a heart attack shortly before he was to begin production on this film.