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Western Heritage

Western Heritage(1948)

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Remind Me

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In a Tucson, Arizona saloon, ex-convict Joe Powell confesses to singer Cleo Raymond that he is involved in an illegal scheme and shows her a stolen wallet containing valuable papers. Cleo is disappointed that Joe, her former lover, has refused to go straight and bids him goodbye. As Joe is leaving the saloon, he is jumped by his three cohorts, Arnold, Pike and Trigg McCord, who try to steal the wallet from him. Joe is saved by passing rancher Ross Daggett, but refuses to report the attack. The next day, Ross and his partner, the half Irish, half Mexican Chito Rafferty, return to their home town and make a $6,000 land payment at the recorder's office, where Ross's girl friend, Beth Winston, works. As they head for their ranch, they see Arnold, Trigg and Pike pursuing Joe and, after an exchange of gunfire, force them to flee. The fatally wounded Joe instructs Ross to deliver the wallet to Cleo and dies without identifying himself. Ross is then ambushed by Arnold, Trigg and Pike, who steal the contents of the wallet and leave the rancher for dead. When Ross awakens, he finds Joe's body missing and is unable to identify his killers to the sheriff. Arnold, meanwhile, appears in the recorder's office claiming to be Joe and presents Beth's uncle, Judge Henry Winston, with a Spanish land grant naming Joe as the rightful owner of most of the surrounding land. Henry is unable to dispute the claim, but assures Beth and Ross that he is going to confirm its legality in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Chito and Ross then ride off to search for Joe's body and are followed by Pike, who begins shooting at them. Pretending to be hit, Ross outsmarts Pike and soon overwhelms him. After Ross and Chito deliver Pike to Sheriff Claiborne, Arnold shows up at the jail demanding that the lawman serve eviction notices to the local ranchers. When Claiborne refuses to comply, Arnold orders Trigg to shoot him and then releases Pike. Later, at Ross and Chito's ranch, Pike attempts to claim the land and cattle, but is lassoed by Ross and hauled into town. There Ross informs Arnold that no one will be evicted until a court rules on the land grant. Ross and Chito then attend a ranchers meeting that Henry, who has just returned from Santa Fe, has arranged. Also at the meeting is Spade, the local saloon owner and a silent partner of Arnold's. After Henry reveals that the grant appears to be legal, the doctor announces that, before dying, Claiborne named Trigg as his killer. The suspicious Chito follows Spade to his saloon and sees Trigg, who is told of Claiborne's confession, leaving town. Chito intercepts Trigg on the way to Mexico and takes him to jail. When Trigg refuses to talk, Ross and Chito allow Arnold and his gang to break him out of jail and follow Trigg and Pike to Joe's hidden body. The ranchers confront the outlaws over Joe's body, and Ross eventually kills Pike, while Trigg escapes and rushes back to Arnold. Ross and Chito present Henry with Joe's body and tell him that, in order to identify him, he must go to Tucson to find Cleo. While Henry is gone, Spade orders two of his henchmen to kill Ross and Chito as they are leaving the recorder's office, but once again, the ranchers outmanuever the outlaws and escape. In Tucson, meanwhile, Cleo identifies the empty wallet as belonging to Joe and reveals that her ex-lover was an accomplished forger. Henry convinces Cleo to identify Joe's body and sends a telegram to Beth informing her of their impending arrival. Arnold and his gang steal the telegram from Beth and rush to stop Cleo's stage, but are intercepted by Ross, who engages them in a gun battle. Eventually, Ross captures Arnold, while a posse formed by Chito rounds up the remaining outlaws. Later, Chito flirts with Cleo, while Ross and Beth drive a wagon across their now-secure range.