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Brothers in the Saddle

Brothers in the Saddle(1949)

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When ranch owner Nancy Austin arrives home from a pre-nuptial Tucson shopping spree and discovers that her fiancé and ranch hand, Steve Taylor, is absent, she sends his brother Tim to find him. Tim discovers Steve losing at poker in the Lordsburg saloon and, after accusing saloon owner Nash Prescott of cheating his brother, starts a brawl. Later, Tim chastises Steve for gambling with Nancy's money, but Steve smugly maintains that he needs a big payoff in order to leave his cowboy life behind. Steve's condescending words anger Tim, who then announces that he is quitting his job as Nancy's foreman. That night, Steve borrows more money from Nancy to play poker with Prescott and his crooked partner, Hoyt Parker. At the saloon, Steve accuses Parker of dealing from the bottom of the deck, and Parker reaches for his gun, but is outdrawn and killed by Steve. The next day, Tim finds Steve hiding in the hills and persuades him to turn himself in to Sheriff Oakley. Because Prescott and his associates have threatened saloon girl Flora Trigby, the shooting's only honest witness, Steve is found guilty by a circuit judge and is sentenced to hang. Steve condemns his brother for his plight, and out of guilt, Tim and his best friend, Chito Rafferty, help Steve to escape. While the now-fugitive brothers hide in the hills, Chito travels to Mexico to find Flora. When Chito later reports that Flora is in Mexico but is refusing to testify out of fear for her life, Tim instructs Steve to stay put in the hills and goes to Mexico himself. With Chito's help, Tim frees Flora from Prescott's guard and brings her back to Lordsburg. Before Flora can testify, however, Steve, having become impatient for his brother, holds up a stagecoach and murders Prescott, who happens to be traveling on the coach. Disgusted by Steve's coldbloodedness, Tim confronts him at the hideout and demands that he return the stolen money. Steve refuses, however, and the two men fight until Steve pushes Tim down a ravine to his apparent death. Steve then heads for Nancy's ranch, unaware that Tim has survived with help from his horse. At the ranch, Steve asks Nancy to flee East with him, but she refuses, finally seeing through his manipulations. When the sheriff's posse rides up, Steve shoots Chito and takes Nancy hostage, escaping back to the hills. There a bruised and battered Tim surprises his brother and, condemning him as morally corrupt, fights him to a deadly draw. Later, Nancy leaves for the East, while a recuperating Chito and Tim vow to wait for her return.