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Rancho Notorious (1952)

aka Rancho Notorious

Directed By: 
Details: 89 mins · English

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Cast:

Small Altar Keane
Small Vern Haskell
Small Frenchy Fairmont
Small Beth Forbes
Small Baldy Gunder
No_movie_poster Maxine
No_movie_poster Chuck-a-Luck dealer
Small Mort Geary
Small Wilson
Small Preacher
No_movie_poster Harbin
No_movie_poster Comanche Paul
No_movie_poster Jeff Factor
No_movie_poster Rio (as Rodric Redwing)

Crew:

Small Fritz Lang Director
No_movie_poster Robert Priestley Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Silvia Richards Original Story
No_movie_poster Hal Mohr Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Daniel Taradash Screenplay
No_movie_poster Emil Newman Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Howard Welsch Producer
No_movie_poster Wiard Ihnen Production Design
No_movie_poster Otto Ludwig Editing

Plot:

Wyoming ranch hand Vern Haskell is enraged when his fiancee Beth Forbes is abused and murdered during a store robbery. He sets out after the two thieves, first with a posse, then by himself. He finds one of them, Whitey, shot in the back by his partner after a quarrel. Whitey's dying words, "Chuck-a-luck", are the only clue to the second man's identity.

After questioning everyone he meets, Vern finally finds someone who lets slip that a woman named Altar Keane is connected with Chuck-a-luck. When the man realizes that Vern is just fishing for information, Vern is forced to kill him in self-defense. Vern is taken into custody, then released when the dead man is identified as a wanted outlaw. By a stroke of luck, a deputy knows Altar as a saloon singer from his past, though not her current whereabouts.

Vern learns that after Altar quit working for saloon owner Baldy Gunder, she bet her last $20 on his rigged chuck-a-luck game and won a lot of money, with gunslinger Frenchy Fairmont stepping in to help her. In the town of Gunsight, Vern learns that Frenchy is in jail, so he deliberately gets himself arrested.

After they break out, Frenchy takes Vern to the Chuck-a-Luck, a horse ranch near the Mexican border owned by Altar. The ranch is a hideout available to any outlaw who is willing to pay 10% of his ill-gotten gains. Vern finds a bunch of men in residence, but has no idea if the killer is one of them. One does, however, recognize him.

The newcomer quickly catches Altar's eye. One night, Vern notices that Altar is wearing a brooch that he gave to Beth. He sets out to romance Altar to find out who gave it to her. This makes Frenchy very jealous.

Vern is forced to go along on a bank robbery, during which one of the others, Kinch, secretly shoots at him. When he takes Altar her share of the proceeds, she finally informs him that Kinch gave her the jewelry. Vern reveals his true purpose and his disdain for Altar's profession. Altar is shamed, and decides to give it all up. However, before she can leave, a gunfight breaks out between Vern and Frenchy on one side and the rest of the outlaws on the other. Altar is killed protecting Frenchy. Kinch also dies, ending Vern's quest.