Lightning Strikes Twice (1951)
An actress Shelley Carnes (Ruth Roman), is looking forward to an exciting vacation at a dude ranch, but she gets more than she bargained for,including a perhaps murderous new husband. Only by shear luck has Richard Trevelyan (Richard Todd), her new husband, escaped execution for murdering his first wife Loraine. In a second trial, a single juror held out causing him to be released. A local priest, Father Paul (Rhys Williams), and other eyewitnesses paint a deadly picture to the future bride but the actual murder was not witnessed and somehow, unbelievably, love wins out. Because of local expectation, Shelley ends up at a competing dude ranch run by J.D. (Frank Conroy) and Myra Nolan (Kathryn Givney). The picture of Richard over their fireplace suggests a close relationship. They loan Shelley their car and direct her to go to Trevelyan's ranch. In route she meets Trevelyan on horseback, a handsome, but damaged, and mysterious young man. Upon arrival at the ranch she finds out the dude ranch is closed. She learns this from two rather worrisome characters, the local caretakers, Liza McStringer (Mercedes McCambridge) a rather seedy country girl, who runs it with her younger brother nicknamed String (Darryl Hickman). Shelley pretends to be a friend of the late wife and stays the night perhaps in an attempt to gather more information about the mysterious ranch owner,in what is probably not a safe move. The following day she seeks out Richard and finds him moody, sitting at the edge of a great cliff. He saves her from falling. One thing leads to another as a friend of the Nolans, Harvey Turner (Zachary Scott) pretends first to kidnap Shelley for romantic reasons, and then he turns out to be a friend of Richard's, taking her to Richard at his guest house. After a quick marriage, their marriage night turns wicked as the new, but moody, husband claims to have attacked a large spider in their wedding bed, but he has a murderous look in his eye. She runs back to the closed dude ranch there to be confronted by jealous and spiteful Liza who turns out to be the real murderer. Shelley is able to fight off Lisa just as Richard arrives to save her. Has he suspected or known all along? But as Lisa and her brother attempt to escape in a high speed chase with police, things end abruptly in a fatal crash. The rest is mystery, as they say.- Written by Edward Kimble
Sent to a dude ranch in the west to recover her health, a New York actress falls in love with a ranch owner recently acquitted of the murder of his wife.- Written by Joseph Jones
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