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Wrangler's Roost

Wrangler's Roost(1941)

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Black Bart, the infamous "polite" highway robber who never harms his victims, disappears after he is released from prison on parole. Ten years later, a robber with similar tactics is operating near Apache Butte, Arizona, and Wells Fargo express official Grover sends for three marshals known as the Range Busters--Crash Corrigan, Dusty King and Alibi Terhune. Grover tells the Range Busters that the new "Black Bart" robber uses a loaded gun and kills his victims. The Range Busters travel separately to Apache Butte, where Crash poses as a cardsharp, because Black Bart was well-known to be a card player. When Crash arrives in town, he makes the acquaintance of Molly Collins, but jealous Dusty, who has been in town for some time, tells the righteous Molly that Crash is a notorious gambler and ladies' man. Dusty accompanies Molly and her father Joe to town meeting called by The Deacon, who is helping Joe fight his alcoholism, while Crash heads for the local gambling house, El Dorado, which is owned by Miller and Brady. Miller is plotting with Brady to buy the Collins land and re-sell it at a profit to the railroad, which they know has plans to build a line through Apache Butte. When Crash uses some of Black Bart's old card tricks to try and attract the robber, Brady reports his observations to Miller. The next morning, the Range Busters perch in the hills to observe the stagecoach, but it is robbed elsewhere and they find only an empty strongbox. The robber, Miller, who has been posing as Black Bart, now has enough money to buy Joe's land, but Joe refuses to sell because he has donated the land to The Deacon for a new church. To Dusty's dismay, Molly develops a new appreciation of Crash after he donates some money to for the church, which he assures her was honestly earned. At a fundraising social, Dusty and Crash compete for Molly's affection, but the social is disrupted by Brady and some malcontents, who protest that a church in town will deprive them of their livelihood. To everyone's surprise, The Deacon breaks up the ensuing brawl with the help of a gun, and Crash becomes newly suspicious of him. Later that night, after Molly discovers that her father is out drinking and gambling at the saloon, Crash goes to retrieve him and finds that drunken Joe has just agreed to a $5,000 loan from Miller to play his next poker hand. Crash tries to break up the game, but instead, The Deacon offers to play Joe's hand. During the tense game, Crash notices that The Deacon uses the same ploys for which Black Bart was renowned, and The Deacon wins for Joe. Crash and Miller both suspect that The Deacon is the real Black Bart, and the Range Busters devise a plan in which to entrap him. The next day, Crash rides the stagecoach as a passenger, while Alibi and Dusty wait nearby. Alibi and Dusty are captured and taken hostage by Brady, and when the stage is attacked by Miller in disguise, Crash fires a warning shot and jumps out. Miller escapes and Crash finds his hat, but Miller shoots The Deacon, whom he encounters on the road. Crash comes to The Deacon's aid, and The Deacon admits that he is the retired Black Bart. Crash follows Miller's tracks to a cabin where his friends are being held, and as he rides up, Dusty and Alibi fight off Brady and Miller. Miller accidentally shoots Brady in the brawl, and Dusty shoots Miller in self-defense, bringing the robber's life and career to an end. Recovering from his gunshot wound, The Deacon admits his true identity to Molly and her father, and expects that the marshals will return him to serve the rest of his prison sentence. However, Crash informs The Deacon that they were after a stagecoach robber, whom they have caught, and as far as they are concerned, Black Bart is dead.