Riding the Wind (1942)
Tim Holt stars as rancher Clay Stewart in this “B” Western from the 40’s which has the requisite gun play chases on horseback fist fights and mild humor to make for a fairly entertaining hour.
The film opens with Burt MacLeod (Earle Hodgins) complaining to his wife Martha (Kate Harrington) about the fact that Henry Dodge (Eddie Dew) has just secured the water rights in the valley where all the ranchers feed their cattle and wants to charge “an arm and a leg” to everyone who wants to use it. About this time Clay shows up and the two of them go into to town to lodge their complaint. After a goofy scene where desperate ranchers try shooting into the air then exploding dynamite to get enough gunpowder in the air to cause it to rain Clay and Burt arrive in town. There is a town meeting to discuss the situation and a lawyer (Larry Steers) is dispatched by the community to Albuquerque to try to get the judge’s ruling granting Dodge the water rights overturned.
In the meantime which could be as long as 30 days the ranchers decide to dig wells and hire a windmill contractor to help supply them with enough water to keep their cattle from dying. However one of the their kind Henchman Jones (Ernie Adams) is really just a stool pigeon for Dodge so that he is able to know what the ranchers are doing and able to disrupt their plans. First Dodge’s men hijack the windmill contractor Ezra Westfall (Charles Phipps) and his daughter Joan (Joan Barclay) before they get to town and dump his equipment over a cliff into Grave’s canyon. Fortunately for the ranchers Clay suspects that Jones is tipping off Dodge and they are able to salvage the equipment and with the contractor & his daughter’s help build a couple of working windmills. But when the ranchers decide to celebrate with a party complete with singing and a taffy pull Dodge and his men are able to destroy both windmills.
The ranchers save Clay decide that enough is enough and head into to town to have it out with Dodge. When Martha MacLeod alerts Clay to the fact he heads for town to keep them from doing something they regret and coincidentally runs into the stage carrying the lawyer and a U.S. Marshall (Bob Burns uncredited) that’s got orders to stay the judge’s water rights ruling. Will he be able to get to town and stop the shootout before anyone is killed? If so will Dodge and his men agree to the order and allow the ranchers to have their water? For answers to these rhetorical questions watch the movie;-)