Cast & Crew
I. Stanford Jolley
After meeting on the trail outside Bear Settlement, Texas Rangers Tex Haines, Dave Wyatt and Panhandle Perkins discuss plans to go undercover to investigate a rash of Indian attacks. At the same time, at a nearby cabin, fur trapper Williams engages in a gun battle with two Indians. Having run out of ammunition, Williams scribbles a note and sticks it in one of his wildcat furs, then tries to escape on his horse, but is shot. Hearing the shots, Tex, Dave and Panhandle chase the Indians, killing one. While Panhandle goes to help Williams, Dave inspects the Indian's body and discovers that the attacker is really a white man in an Indian-style wig. Tex rides to Williams' cabin and sees another phony Indian rifling through Williams' belongings. Before Tex can confront the man, he is shot by two cohorts, Frank Sneed and Mert Donner, who then ride off. Found kneeling over the dead man's body, Tex is arrested for murder by Allen Fain, the local Indian agent. Panhandle, meanwhile, reports to Dave that before dying, Williams muttered something about his daughter, Ellen Williams, and a wildcat. Dave then rides to Williams' cabin, where a rifle-wielding Ellen has taken Donner and Sneed, who have been searching the place, by surprise. Ellen also gets the drop on Dave and accuses him of trying to steal her father's furs, but he assures her of his good intentions. While Dave and Ellen are talking, Sneed and Donner escape from the cabin, and when Fain shows up, he arrests Dave, who is thrown in jail with Tex. Just as Panhandle, wearing an Indian wig and Williams' wildcat fur on his head, arrives at the jail, claiming to be Chief Pow Wow, Ellen bursts in with papers authorizing Dave and Tex's release. At the hotel, Ellen then tells Dave, Tex and Panhandle, who identify themselves as Rangers, that she suspects her father left her a note somewhere in his cabin, detailing the secret location of his cache of furs. Later, Tex reveals that the man calling himself Fain is an impostor, as he has met the real Fain, and speculates that the phony is in league with the fake Indians. While Tex rides off to find out what happened to Fain, Panhandle, still dressed as Chief Pow Wow, goes to Williams' cabin. Panhandle is joined by Sneed, who is also dressed like an Indian, but neither of the phony Indians finds the note. After Sneed reports to boss Jim Gar, the trading post owner, that Panhandle is an impostor, Fain meets Tex on the trail outside town. When Tex reveals that he has located the real Fain's body, the impostor Fain tries to flee, but is captured by Tex. At the jail, Tex, Panhandle and Dave identify themselves as Rangers to the bumbling sheriff and finally realize that the "wildcat" mentioned by Williams must be the fur, which is now at Gar's store. Before Panhandle can retrieve the fur, he sees Sneed, Gar and Donner riding off with Ellen, whom they intend to kidnap. Tex, Dave and Panhandle pursue the outlaws, but they elude the Rangers and return to the trading post with Ellen. After a fight, Tex and Dave free Ellen, but when Panhandle finally finds Williams' note inside the wildcat fur, he is knocked out by Sneed, who steals the note. Following the directions on the note, Sneed and the others go to a hotel in a nearby ghost town and start to tear the place apart. Tex, Dave and a revived Panhandle soon catch up to them, and after a fierce gunfight, the outlaws are routed. Later, the fur-rich Ellen celebrates the reopening of the trading post, of which she is the proud, new owner.
I. Stanford Jolley
Trade reviewed at the Hitching Post theatre in Hollywood on 17 October 1946, 15 months after first release.
Although the picture was released nationally in September 1945, it was not reviewed in Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety until October 1946. Frontier Fugitives was the second-to-last entry in the "Texas Rangers" series, although by the time it was reviewed in Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety, it apparently was the only one in distribution. For more information on the series, consult the Series Index and for The Rangers Take Over. Modern sources add Charles King, Karl Hackett, Budd Buster, Carl Mathews and Robert Kortman to the cast.