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Firebrands of Arizona

Firebrands of Arizona(1944)

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Arizona horse rancher Poppy Calhoun makes a deal with rodeo owner Bailey to sell her horses and also offers the services of her foreman, Sunset Carson, for his show. Bailey refuses to accept Sunset's partner, Frog Millhouse, however, as his hypochondria drove Bailey to distraction during the previous year's rodeo. Sunset will not perform without Frog by his side, and so Poppy promises Bailey that she will cure Frog before the rodeo begins. Determined to reform Frog, Poppy fires him, then sends him along with Sunset to a clinic in Minnesota. Before they have even left the state, however, Frog and Sunset find themselves in the midst of a battle between Sheriff Hoag and his men, who want to arrest Frog, and a gang of outlaws, who want to free him. Both groups have mistaken Frog for notorious bank robber Killer "Beefsteak" Discoe, to whom Frog bears a strong resemblance. Hoag succeeds in hauling Frog off to jail, and Sunset, believing that Poppy has arranged the stunt to shock Frog into admitting he has a strong constitution, acts as if Frog is Beefsteak. Believing that he will receive the $66,000 reward being offered for Beefsteak's hanging, Hoag is delighted with his prisoner, especially when Frog, who has never heard of Beefsteak, plays along with Sunset. The pair concoct some tall tales for a newspaper reporter, but when Sunset sees a story about Frog's imminent hanging, he realizes that the matter is a serious one. Sunset returns to the ranch, where Poppy confirms that Beefsteak is a real outlaw and that she did not arrange for Frog's arrest. Meanwhile, the real Beefsteak has learned of Frog's predicament and plans to steal the reward money when it arrives by stagecoach. As Sunset and Poppy are riding back to town, they interrupt Beefsteak and his gang robbing the stage. Sunset drives off the gang and rescues one of the drivers, but in town, Hoag has convinced Frog that even if he is innocent, he will become a great martyr if he allows himself to be hanged. Frog is on the gallows when Sunset and Poppy arrive, and the wounded driver reveals that the real Beefsteak is at large. Deciding that he will still hang Frog if the outlaw is not captured, Hoag returns Frog to jail, but Beefsteak's men capture him and Beefsteak goes into Frog's cell. While Beefsteak is stealing the reward money from the jail's safe, Frog is being chased by a posse that has mistaken him for the outlaw. Frog manages to escape with the unwilling help of a farmer, whose wagonload of explosives gets blown up by the posse. Frog then returns to his cell, where he and Beefsteak manage to rip off each other's clothes and knock themselves unconscious. When they awaken, Hoag has returned and plans to hang both of them. Sunset and Poppy arrive, and in order to find the real Frog, Sunset questions both men about Frog's self-written epitaph and offers them some medicine. The test works and after Beefsteak reveals himself, Sunset bests him in a fistfight. Soon after, Hoag has finally accomplished his longed-for hanging, and as he leaves town, Frog is chased by the irate farmer whose wagon was destroyed.