As a shooting war between competing ranches begins to break out, only Bill Canavan has a plan to come out on top. The city of Soledad was in a valley controlled by three competing ranches. One owned by Tom Venable, an honest man, and his sister Dixie. The other two ranches were owned By Walt Pogue and Charlie Reynolds. Both of these men were outlaws that had acquired their ranches illegally and now were on the brink of an all out war for control of the valley.
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Bill Canavan has a plan to finally give up working for others and start his own ranch where he can settle down and have a real life. Upon arriving in Soledad he meets Dixie and immediately knows that she will be his wife. The only problem is that she is engaged to Starr Levitt who is working on Venable's ranch.
Before coming to Soledad, Canavan found out that none of the property occupied by Reynolds and Pogue legally belonged to them. Canavan filed all the proper paperwork and bought all the land and water rights to the valley. Knowing that a fight was about to take place he came in to take his rightful place as the owner of the ranches.
Starr Levitt also saw this opportunity . However, his plan was to escalate the fight between Pogue and Reynolds, have them kill each other off and then by marrying Dixie be in control of the valley. Levitt was also a drug smuggler and was using the Venable's ranch as his base of operations. He was blackmailing the Venable's and forcing Dixiie to marry him to finalize his plan.
Starr Levitt orchestrates a shootout between Pogue and Reynolds with his own men making sure they are both killed. Then to cover his tracks he sends for the federal judge to come to Soledad so that he can tell his version of the story and clear his own name and take over.
Knowing that Canavan is a threat, Levitt puts out a "shoot on site" order and frames Canavan for a murder, making him an outlaw.
When the federal judges arrive they have been warned in advance that there is more going on than Levitt would have them believe. They hold a public hearing which includes all the parties involved.
During the hearing, not only is it made evident that Levitt is a murderer and a crook but it is also revealed that Canavan is the legal owner of the properties and water rights to the entire valley.
This infuriates Levitt and he escapes with two of his men.
About a year passes before Levitt reappears and finally has a showdown with Canavan. Canavan fairly kills Levitt in a shoot out and is then free to build the life he came to have with Dixie as his wife.
Best part of story, including ending:
It seems it takes more work and effort to do things the wrong way than to do it the right way! Levitt and Canavan both basically had the same plan…but VERY different ways of accomplishing it.
Best scene in story:
When the federal judges had everyone together and revealed that Canavan was the rightful owner, everything that Levitt had so meticulously planned was over. Again showing that in the old west, the good guy always wins!
Opinion about the main character:
Bill Canavan was a man that did things the right way. There are no shortcuts to success and it takes hard work and dedication to get the things that matter.