Cast & Crew
After the Homestead Act of 1862, many Americans move West to claim 160 acres of homestead land. In Johnson City, Iowa, night riders kill and terrorize the setters in order to force them to leave their lands. Two of these men, Frank Clark and Frago, plan to attack homesteader Jed Johnson. When Jed receives a warning note, he sends his son Danny to Kentuck, the owner of a nearby store. Kentuck and Keith Kenton, the local doctor, rendezvous at the Johnsons' to help repel the attackers. Keith is in love with Mary Lee, Jed's daughter, but they agree not to marry until conditions are more peaceful. John Abbott, a pillar of the community, is actually the man behind the night riders. Jed calls a meeting of the homesteaders, many of whom want to take action against the men they suspect are attacking them, but Keith prevails upon them to let law and order take its course. A few days later, as Jed is on the way to a meeting of the Land Claim Association, he is shot and killed by Frago. The settlers blame Keith for not taking action against the suspects, and in her sorrow, Mary Lee also turns against Keith. Abbott's men take advantage of the sentiment against Keith and suggest that he be run out of town. The governor then names Keith a special deputy and sends him back to see that law and order are restored. When he returns, Keith learns that Abbott has appointed Danny an officer in his land company. Meanwhile, another settler has been killed in an ambush and Danny is accused. Keith places Abbott and Danny on trial. After Frago tries to kill a witness, the witness reveals that Abbott and Clark are behind the murders. Now that order is restored, Keith and Mary Lee plan to marry.
This film was made under the title The Right to Kill and was listed under that title in Motion Picture Herald release charts through July 31, 1937, after which it was listed as The Law Commands, the title under which it appeared in an ad in the 1937-38 Motion Picture Almanac and under which it was reviewed in Variety on August 17, 1938, when it played in Lincoln, NB. It was the sixth of eight action films, produced by E. B. Derr and starring Tom Keene, which were based on historical events. According to modern sources, additional cast members include Fred Burns and Horace B. Carpenter.