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Lure of the Swamp

Lure of the Swamp(1957)

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In the Florida swamplands near Miami, gangster James Lister hires guide Simon Lewt to lead him through the maze of marsh-like waterways. After navigating the swamps for three hours, Lister tells Simon that he wants to continue on alone, and asks him to stay behind and wait for his signal. Some time later, Simon is startled by the sound of gunshots and follows them to Lister, who tosses an empty suitcase overboard and then instructs Simon to take him back to shore. Upon reaching land, Lister hands Simon fifty dollars and informs him that he will soon return and is paying him in advance to take him back to the same spot. Later, in town, Simon sees a newspaper headline trumpeting that $290,000 has been stolen from a Miami bank and that one of the robbers has been found with his throat slit. Accompanying the article is a photo of Lister, who is identified as the slain thief. Later, on the street, Simon is approached by Cora Payne, who introduces herself as a photographer for a national magazine and asks Simon to take her on a tour through the swamps. When Simon demurs, the attractive Cora tries to cajole him into accepting the assignment. That night, Simon is at his cabin with his girl friend, Evie Dee, the spunky daughter of the local shopkeeper, when he hears a noise outside and spots a stranger wandering the swamp. When Evie demands to know why Simon is so edgy, he slaps her and she runs off. Soon after, the stranger enters the cabin, introduces himself as Steggins and offers to hire Simon as a guide. After Simon refuses, Steggins asks if he saw a man carrying a suitcase and then leaves. Simon then goes to apologize to Evie, but when she chases him away at gunpoint, he returns to his cabin and finds the menacing Henry Bliss waiting for him. Claiming that Lister sent him, Bliss shows Simon a suitcase identical to the one carried by Lister and then strikes up a partnership with Simon to retrieve the stolen cash. After Simon mentions Steggins, Bliss becomes anxious and insists on searching for the money the first thing in the morning. Their conversation is interrupted when someone knocks at the front door, and Simon hides Bliss in his back room. Upon answering the door, Simon finds Cora, who asks him to take her out for a drink. Several drinks later, Cora entices Simon to kiss her during the drive home. After dropping off Cora, Simon returns to the cabin and finds Evie trying to fend off Bliss's amorous advances. Simon then throws Bliss out and Evie runs away crying. To cool down, Simon plunges into the swamp and there encounters Steggins, paddling his boat in the dark. The next morning, Cora awakens Simon and Bliss saunters up to her and makes a lewd remark. Warning that Bliss is dangerous, Simon asks Cora to leave but promises to take her into the swamps soon. After slapping Bliss for his insolent behavior, Simon agrees to lead him into the swamps that night. That evening, as Simon poles his skiff through the waterways, he hears someone approaching and directs Bliss to jump overboard and hide. Soon after, Simon encounters Steggins, who claims that he is lost. After pointing Steggins in the direction of home, Simon returns for Bliss, who has lost his gun in the morass. Promising to continue the search the following evening, Simon takes Bliss back to the cabin and then drives into town, where he tells Cora he will take her into the swamp the next day. Some time later, Simon returns home and hears a woman scream and a man calling for help in the distance. Simon propels his skiff into the swamp, and there finds Bliss sinking into a pool of quicksand while Cora flees. After a hysterical Cora declares that Bliss chased her into the swamp, Simon passionately kisses her and tells her about the hidden money, which Cora insists on helping Simon locate. Later, in town, Steggins informs Simon that he is an insurance investigator and asks his help in finding the stolen money. When Evie learns of Steggins' occupation, she urges Simon to cooperate with him and warns that Cora is using him, but he ignores her admonitions and admits that he has fallen in love with Cora. That night, Cora awakens Simon with news that she knows where the money is hidden. With Simon poling his skiff, Cora directs him to a secluded spot, where she digs up a strongbox. Holding the box aloft, Cora brandishes a pistol at Simon and then states that Lister was her husband, although no one knew about the marriage. Declaring that she must now kill Simon, Cora fires the gun. Injured, Simon flees through the swamps with Cora in pursuit. After Cora shoots Simon again, he collapses. While approaching his prone body, she then lurches into a pit of quicksand, clutching the strongbox as she sinks to her death. Soon after, Steggins and Evie find Simon, and after fishing one of the bank bills out of the quicksand, Steggins carries Simon to safety.