An unsophisticated miner runs afoul of a town boss and is framed for murder. When the town's lawyers refuse to represent him properly because they fear for their lives, Bat decides to represent the defendant in court himself.
In 1885 Bat arrives on the stage in Casper, Wyoming to the sound of gunshots and a man throwing rocks at a Lady Justice statue. When Bat's hat is hit by a rock and he intervenes, he is warned he isn't in control as he was in Dodge City. While talking to old girl friend Belle Sims, he notices a friend Johnny Mills is under arrest. He learns Johnny is charged with murdering a man during a poker game while cheating. Johnny denies cheating and says the dead man fired at him first after trying to bluff him. He has a public defender appointed to his case but during a talk with the lawyer Bat realizes he and everyone else will do nothing to help Johnny. Bat decides to defend Johnny himself with his first task being to serve subpoenas to the witnesses. At the trial the witnesses including Belle continue to lie with the Judge's support. During a recess a frustrated Bat has an inspiration. He decides to let the cards speak for themselves. Written by
Per the title, the dead man's hand is a two-pair poker hand, namely "aces and eights" from the legend of it having been the five-card-draw hand held by Wild Bill Hickock at the time of his murder on August 2, 1876. Many films have used this allusion just prior to the death of a man engaged in a poker game. See more »