Cast & Crew
As U.S. Marshal Pecos Jones pursues a fugitive the edge of the inferno known as the Red Desert, a barrage of gunfire knocks him from his horse to the ground. Left to die in the sweltering heat, Pecos reflects upon how he ended up in this predicament: In Washington, D.C., President Ulysses S. Grant assigns Pecos to track down a vicious killer named Lefty Jordan. Jordan has stolen a shipment of gold bullion with which Grant fears he will establish his own state. No recent pictures exist of Jordan, and consequently he can only be identified by the coiled snake tattoo he bears on his left forearm. Going undercover, Pecos poses as an Eastern gambler and boards a stage headed for Antelope, the town on the edge of the Red Desert, Jordan's assumed destination. On the stage, Pecos meets John Williams, the owner of the Last Chance Saloon, singer Hazel Carter and Sparky Jackson, a timid jeweler who was recruited by Williams to work in Antelope. Upon discovering that Pecos is a gambler, Williams offers him a job dealing cards. In town, Pecos is introduced to Deacon Smith, Williams' partner, and is challenged by the pugnacious Bob Horn. When Pecos humiliates Horn by stealing his gun, Williams, who was using Horn to test Pecos' mettle, awards him a job. Pecos then deals a hand of poker for Horn and Sparky, and when Sparky wins pot after pot, Horn becomes infuriated and threatens the little jeweler. Springing to Sparky's defense, Pecos soundly thrashes Horn. The next day, Sparky delivers a bundle of jewelry to Williams and Smith, who entrust it to Horn and their other henchman, Barton. Following Horn and Barton out of town, Pecos dons a mask, lassos Horn and absconds with the jewels. When Horn and Barton report the theft to Williams and Smith, Williams accuses them of lying about the masked bandit and shoots Barton. At that moment, Pecos walks into the street, sporting the same bandana worn by the masked bandit. Horn and Smith rush to confront Pecos, who immediately arrests them for the theft of the gold bullion and accuses them of using Sparky to transform the gold into jewelry. When Smith reaches for his gun, Pecos fires on both him and Horn and then goes after Williams. Jumping on his horse, Williams gallops out of town and is relentlessly pursued by Pecos, who tracks him to the edge of the Red Desert. Stranded in the scorching sands after Williams shoots him off his horse, Pecos' thoughts return to the present as Williams appears to finish him off. Just then, Williams' horse is spooked by a rattlesnake, throwing him to the ground. On foot, the men continue their tortuous pursuit through the inferno, each foraging whatever precious drops of water they can. After finally catching up to Williams, Pecos engages him in hand-to-hand combat and sends him plunging over a cliff to certain death. Exhausted and parched, Pecos returns to town and stops at Sparky's shop. Declaring that Williams' arm bore no tattoo, Pecos orders Sparky to roll up his sleeve, revealing the distinct tattoo of the coiled snake. When Pecos accuses Sparky of being Jordan and arrests him, Sparky pulls a concealed gun from his belt. At that moment, Hazel enters the room, distracting Sparky long enough to allow Pecos to grab the gun. In the ensuing struggle, the weapon discharges, killing Sparky. His mission accomplished, Pecos loads the bullion into a wagon and heads out of town.
Robert L. Lippert
Robert L. Lippert
Daniel B. Ullman
The working title of this film was Texas Manhunt. The picture opens with an offscreen narrator discussing the many perils of the Red Desert. Although the Variety review lists the character played by Don Barry as "Pecos Kid," he is called "Pecos Jones" in the film.