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Behind a narration in the style of Jack Webb on TV's "Dragnet", U.S. Marshal Sam Nelson, posing as Sam Smith, is sent to a gold-boom town in California to learn the identity of three killers. Posing as a gunman and killer, he soon strikes up a friendship with card-sharp Alf Billings after saving him from being lynched when caught cheating in a card game. Billings suggests they become partners as his skill with cards (overlooking the near lynching he just escaped) and Sam's ability with guns should make them a fortune. Sam agrees, hoping that Billings will lead him to the men he is hunting. Billings leads him to Coldwater sheriff William Norris and Ernie Walker, Norris's partner in a saloon and gambling operation, both implicated in the murder case Sam is investigating. Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Wild Bill Elliott stars in one of his last westerns for Allied Artists -- basically Monogram with a budget -- in this story about a marshal hunting for someone who is killing miners for their claims during the California Gold Rush.
The story is compressed a bit by having Elliott narrate the beginning of the story. However, with his low-affect acting style and the overly full writing of the narration, it comes off like a long episode of TV's DRAGNET on horseback. Add in Harry Morgan, who spent the end of the 1960s as the second lead on the current version of the show -- well, from this distance it looks like a burlesque of Jack Webb's. In reality, it was probably simply an attempt to add some up-to-date techniques to the oldest film genre.
It didn't work. Elliott would retire from the cowboy B movies -- he would switch to mysteries -- and the B westerns themselves would migrate to the television screen and then would die. The mythology of the West was no longer the myth of the country. Science Fiction was already moving in.
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