Directed by Fritz Lang, 1941
Staring Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger, Robert Young, Virginia Gilmore
Vance Shaw (Scott) is a young man on the wrong side of the law and is headed for a career as a criminal in the old west. Fleeing a posse following a bank robbery, his horse becomes lame and he is forced to flee on foot. In due course he comes upon a Western Union surveyor, Edward Creighton (Dean Jagger) who has been injured. Intending to steal Creighton's horse, Shaw, instead takes pity on the injured man and takes him to a wayside stage depot where he can receive care. Shaw then continues his flight with Creighton's horse.
The two accidentally meet in Omaha some months later when Shaw joins others in signing up to extend Western Union's telegraph line from Omaha to Salt Lake City. Creighton, who is the project manager for the venture, and Shaw recognize each other but Creighton, seeing Shaw's potential and overlooking Shaw's questionable past, hires Shaw as scout for the project. Shaw meets and is quickly smitten by Creighton's younger sister, Sue (Virginia Gilmore) who works is assisting her brother in Omaha. But the arrival of Richard Blake (Robert Young), an engineering graduate of Harvard and cocky son of a wealthy eastern investor in the project, gives Shaw competition for Sue's affections.
Racing against the coming winter, the crew works long hours each day erecting poles and stringing wire. Adding to their problems are attacks by Shaw's former outlaw buddies who are disguised as Indians. As the project progresses, Shaw is increasingly torn between this loyalty to Creighton who has given him a chance at an honest life and his desire to protect his former friends. In the end Shaw is forced to make a stand and choose one side over the other in a bloody show down.
The movie is available on VHS.
This report prepared by Chuck Nugent