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Billy Donovan (Johnny Mack Brown) travels texas as a travelling
ammonitions-salesman, wearing all fancy cityboy cloths, but in his little
sideshow he proves to be an expert marksman ... which impresses Jean
(Sheila Manners) enough hire him as her new ranchhand - officially, but
really she wants him to figure out the mystery of the phantom of her
ranch, that killed her brother a couple of years ago ... & she just
refuses to believe that it really was a (genuine) phantom.
happily accepts, since he has a score to settle with local badman Salizar
(Ted Adams), who has killed his sister & brother-in-law, anyways.
However, even upon arrival, Donovan sees a spectre-like figure wandering
about Jean's ranch - but upon his investigations finds only Jean & her
paralyzed stepfather (Karl Hackett) on the premises -, plus Donovan is
shot at but can't find out where from. This however makes Conovan only
more determined to figure outt he mystery ofthe phantom.
spots a man on the farmland, whom he follows to a mine, & following
him through the mineshafts, he soon discovers there is a secret entrance
to Jean's ranchhouse. However, Donovan doesn't find the stranger there,
only Jean's paralyzed stepfather ... who is soon found out not to be
paralyzed at all, his sleepwalking gave him away, but he claims he was
just dreaming about walking about & didn'T know he really could ... an
excuse so feeble it's bound to be true ...
Meanwhile, Salizar has
kidnapped Jean & plans to force her to marry him ... but in the
wedding gown he gives her to wear, she finds a map leading to a goldmine
Soon, Bonovan comes to the rescue, he frees Jean & takes Salizar
prisoner. On the way to town they meet Jim Day (Hal Price), owner of the
local saloon, & as it turns out, deputy sheriff, & he offers to
take Salizar to town for them ...
Naturally, it isn't long before
Salizar is free again, makes a visit to Jean's farm & threatens
everyone in sight ... but Donovan is able to disarm him & challanges
him to a fair duel. Salizar, believing himself the quickest draw in
the West, happily accepts, but has to find outthat Donovan draws even
quicker ... & he dies, congratulating Donovan.
But that's not the
end of it, since Donovan is convinced Salizar was working for someone
else, & since he has figured outt he secret mineshaft leading to
Jean's house anyways, he & Jean lie in wait next to the secret
entrance ... & it's not long before the real villain shows up ... Jim
Day himself, who has found a goldmine on Jean's land & now desperately
tried to drive her off her ranch ... Naturally int he end he's overcome by
Nice B-Western, from a time when these films would
quite regularly transcend their genre boundaries - so this one
incorporates a murder mystery with horror-elements into its plot as if it
would belong there ... & it works quite well, even if the solution to
the mystery is given away way too soon.