Cast & Crew
A payroll box containing $97,000 is stolen from a stagecoach by a gang organized by notorious Mike McClure and led by young Dave Weldon, known as The Apache Kid. Dave is the only survivor of the heist and after hiding the money, is captured and placed in a cell with stageline investigator Gene Autry, who is posing as a cattle rustler. Gene tries to discover where Dave has hidden the payroll, but only learns about Dave's background traveling with his father's medicine show. U.S. Marshal Taplan, who considers Gene's presence an interference, nevertheless confides in him his intention to allow Dave to escape in hopes that he will lead him to the money. When Dave breaks out as planned, deputy Pat "Cyclone" Buttram, who arrested Dave, demands to come along to protect his $2,000 reward. Taplan follows Dave, but soon loses him and, with Gene and Pat, continues on to Mesa Wells. There they encounter Dave's father Doc Weldon, and his medicine show, providing entertainment for the towns people with Doc's daughter Connie and the Cass County Boys. Although Gene presents Connie with a token that Dave entrusted to him, she nevertheless hesitates to confide in him. Two of McClure's henchmen then arrive in town and question Doc about Dave, and when they grow threatening, Gene intervenes. Connie is put at ease after the Cass County Boys assure her that Gene is their good friend and former singing partner. Gene hints that he is a marshal and tells Doc about Dave's escape, and Doc invites Gene to travel with the show. After McClure's henchman Sim reports that he shadowed the Weldon show to Mesa Wells, McClure proposes to attack them on a barren stretch of territory near the Mexican border. Meanwhile, Doc confides in Gene that Dave was lured into a life of crime by McClure, who was impressed by Dave's shooting ability in the show. That afternoon Dave slips unobtrusively into the Weldon camp, to the delight of Connie and Doc. Gene warns Dave that Taplan and Pat are trailing the show and helps him escape. Unknown to the group, two of McClure's henchmen are watching the camp and see Dave circle back later. When Gene suggests to Dave that he return the money in exchange for having the robbery charges dropped, Dave refuses, insisting that the money is to help Doc and Connie. Realizing, however, that his presence is a danger to his family, Dave departs, followed by McClure's gang and Gene. Later, Gene helps Dave hold off an attack during which both McClure and Dave are injured. While escaping, Gene and Dave run into Pat, and near the border they are befriended by rancher Carlos de La Torre, who, resenting McClure's lawless behavior, offers to hide Dave on his ranch. After Gene brings Connie and Doc, who frets about not being able to help his son, Carlos promises to get a legitimate doctor from nearby Border City to the ranch. However, when he arrives, Dr. Kunody, intimidated by McClure, says the only way he can treat Dave is to have him brought to his office. McClure then orders that Carlos and Gene be distracted, so that Dave can be taken from the de La Torre ranch. Sim attacks Gene and Carlos on their return to the ranch, but is quickly overpowered and confesses McClure's scheme. After rounding up the hands, Gene and Carlos go back to the ranch, only to find the barn in flames and McClure and his gang searching for Dave. McClure's gang flees and Gene rescues Dave and Carlos' horses. A gravely ill Dave is hidden in the Weldons' wagon and secreted to Kunody, who operates to remove the bullet while Carlos supervises. Dave gains consciousness and, fearful of dying, promises to return the money and leave the life of crime behind. After the operation, however, McClure jumps Carlos and takes Dave. Taplan informs Connie that Gene is not a marshal and refuses to believe Gene and Carlos when they insist Dave has been abducted. Doc and Pat force Taplan into Doc's wagon and follow Gene, who has gone after McClure. Meanwhile, McClure coerces the weakened Dave to lead him to the hidden payroll box. When Gene and the others catch up, a shootout ensues, ending only when McClure is killed by Doc. With the money returned, Taplan assures the Weldons that Dave's sentence will probably be light because of his change of heart.
George J. Lewis
Cass County Boys
Fred S. Martin
Carter Dehaven Jr.
V. O. Stamps
The big fight sequence between Gene Autry, George J. Lewis and John L. Cason was originally used in Big Sombrero, The (1949).
According to information in the Copyright records, the film was released in sepia, but the print viewed was in black and white. The Variety review mistakenly lists the film as Wagon Train.