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The Falcon Out West (1944) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • Detective Falcon and the police travel west to a ranch in Texas to try and solve the mystery of the murder by venom from a rattlesnake, in a New York City nightclub, of a Rich cattle baron.

  • When a Texas playboy is murdered in a New York City nightclub the Falcon investigates. When he learns that the victim died from rattlesnake venom, the trail leads to Texas, his own kidnapping and near death.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • A society detective turns cowboy to solve a Texan's murder.

    Tom Lawrence A.K.A. The Falcon (Tom Conway) is enjoying an evening out at a New York night club when he is approached by Mrs Irwin (Joan Barclay), who asks him to prevent her Ex-husband Tex Irwin (Lyle Talbot) marrying gold digger Vanessa Drake (Carole Gallagher). Tom doesn't want to get involved with this but Tex, who is dining at the club with his entourage, suddenly collapses on the dance floor and dies. The Falcon examines the body and is surprised to find a rattlesnake bite on the arm of the dead man and an empty wallet in his pocket. Inspector Timothy Donovan (Cliff Clark) arrives at the club to investigate the murder but Tex's attorney Stephen Hayden (Don Douglas) requests that Donovan postpones questioning Vanessa until she recovers from the shock of her fiancée's death. After Vanessa has left the table, Tom notices that one of the two train tickets he found on Tex's body has gone. Tom pockets the other ticket and when Vanessa boards the train to Texas she is surprised to find The Falcon waiting for her in her compartment. She tells Tom that the answer to Tex's death is to be found in Texas and so The Falcon agrees to go with her to Tex's ranch.

    When they arrive at the Texan train station The Falcon and Vanessa are greeted by Donovan, his assistant Bates (Edward Gargan) and Hayden. Donovan tells Vanessa that he is waiting for extradition papers to take her back to The Big Apple and then accepts her invitation to join her at the ranch. Also there to meet Vanessa is Dusty (Lee Trent), Tex's foreman, whom Tom recognises as being present at the night club just before Tex died. Dusty has brought a stagecoach to the station to transport Vanessa and her party to the ranch, but the gunplay of a group of rowdy ranch hands startles the horses and they bolt with the coach and it's passengers. They are rescued by Marion Colby (Barbara Hale), the daughter of Tex's partner Dave Colby (Minor Watson), who halts the spooked horses and then leads the coach of passengers safely to Tex's ranch. However, they find the ranch in darkness and seemingly deserted so Marion invites them over to the Colby ranch for dinner but Hayden enters Tex's ranch and discovers that the safe has been opened and the contents are strewn across a table.

    At the Colby ranch that evening, Tom follows Marion into a backroom where she is hiding a set of baggage checks - evidence that she and her father were in New York at the time of Tex's death. When Tom confronts her Marion explains that they had gone to the city to try and persuade Tex not to marry Vanessa but their attempt had only led to an argument and they had left the club before Tex's death occurred. Suddenly a scream is heard and everyone rushes out onto the patio where Vanessa claims someone just tried to kill her with a knife. Tom, Donovan and the others search for her attacker but can find no-one and as it is late they return to Tex's ranch only to discover Mrs Irwin there. She announces that she is going to move back into the ranch until the estate is settled. Tom notices a bloodstain on Irwin's sleeve. Later that night The Falcon goes to his bedroom only to find a scalp dagger embedded in his door, pinning a scalp to the door. Vanessa tells Tom that it is an old Comanche death warning.

    The next morning Tom goes to show the scalp to Colby, assuming that it has come from Colby's extensive collection of Indian artefacts, but when he mentions what Vanessa told him Colby informs him that the Comanche did not take scalps. Donovan arrives and tells everyone that they must gather at Tex's ranch later that day. When everyone is assembled at the ranch at 3pm Hayden presents Vanessa, Mrs Irwin and the Colbys with papers from Tex's safe, asks them to examine them, then he leaves the room. While they are reading the paperwork Donovan notices that Mrs Irwin is bending the papers in the exact same manner as the papers taken from the safe were bent and he accuses her of breaking into the safe. At that moment Eagle Feather (Chief Thunderbird), the Irwins Indian manservant, enters with news that Hayden is unwell. Rushing to his room the group are helpless as they watch him succumb to snake bite poisoning and die. Donovan persists in accusing Mrs Irwin of the murders until they all go outside and someone takes a potshot at him. They discover that the shooter is Red (Perc Launders), one of Colby's men. Donovan now suspects Colby and goes over to his ranch to question him.

    At the Colby ranch Tom discovers an Indian medicine bag containing the deed to Tex's ranch and a poison ring in the shape of a snake. Colby admits that he took the deed from the safe because Tex had discovered that Vanessa was cheating on him and so had changed his mind about who to leave his property to. Colby claims that he owns an identical poison ring in his collection but that it had gone missing months ago, but Donovan does not believe him and arrests him. Donovan escorts Colby out to a waiting car, but Tom stays behind and accuses Vanessa of murder. He says it was her who had pinned the scalp to his door to try and frighten him off and that she killed Tex because he had indeed discovered that she was cheating on him and was going to call off the wedding and not give her the ranch. Vanessa is about to plunge the fangs of her poison ring into Tom's arm when her lover Dusty enters and orders Tom at gunpoint to go to the car. Outside meanwhile, Colby's ranch hands have freed their boss from Donovan and are on their way to the ranch house. Dusty sees them coming and orders Tom back inside, before going back into the house The Falcon hangs the snake ring on the outside of the door. When Donovan and Colby's men see it they surround the house and a gun battle breaks out. In the confusion The Falcon manages to disarm Dusty by slamming the door onto his gun hand and Tom then arrests Vanessa. Later, at the train station Tom and Marion are saying goodbye to Donovan and Bates as they board the train back to New York when a beautiful woman steps down from the train and asks The Falcon for his help.

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