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The Deadline

The Deadline(1931)

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During a card game, a stranger comes in with his gun drawn. To prevent a gunfight, Buck Donlin shoots out a light, but when the sheriff arrives, the stranger, a federal agent, is found dead at Buck's feet. Buck is sentenced to five years for manslaughter but is paroled after one year. Upon his release, Buck returns to Colfax and the blacksmith shop of his friend Otto, who has kept Buck's horse, Silver. Otto gives Buck a job and a pair of four-leaf clover spurs for luck. Buck reports to Sheriff Grady for probation, and is advised that he is under a deadline and must avoid wearing a gun or getting into fights. Buck intends to prove his innocence by finding the real murderer and examines the papers on Clink Durand, an outlaw whom the detective was pursuing at the time of his death. Banker Henry Evans believes Buck is innocent. Buck loves Evans' daughter Helen, but does not want to involve her in his quest. Buck is shunned by most of the townspeople except for Chloride, an old prospector. A month later, townspeople blame Buck for a series of recent robberies. Jimmy, Helen's brother, fails to reunite her with Buck, and she is now courted by Ira Coleman, wealthy owner of the newly reopened Sonnet mine. After the town dance, Buck pretends to be a Mexican bandit to rob Coleman of his jacket. The next morning, Silver has disappeared, and the Sheriff arrests Buck for a murder from which Silver was seen fleeing. Meanwhile, Coleman meets his confederates at the mine and announces that they are pulling out after a final robbery, during which the sheriff will be diverted by pursuing Buck. Befriending Buck, Coleman helps him plan his escape, but rather than go through with the plan to ride to Twenty Oaks, Buck goes to Coleman's mine. There he meets Chloride, who knew the mine was exhausted and has discovered it is being "salted" with stolen gold. With the sheriff busy in pursuit of Buck, Coleman robs the Evans bank and threatens to have Lefty kill Evans unless Helen departs with him on a honeymoon. Meanwhile, Buck is chased back to Colfax by the sheriff and surprises the robbers. After a gunfight, Buck captures Coleman trying to escape. The sheriff acknowledges Buck's innocence, realizing that Coleman is Clink Durand, the man who killed the detective. The sheriff hands Buck the bank money to return to Evans, and with the deadline passed and his innocence proven, Buck and Helen are united at last.