Trail Guide (1952)
Directed by Lesley Selander and co-written by Arthur E. Orloff this average B-Western features Tim Holt using his own name as his character with his sidekick Richard Martin who if you don’t know by now uses the name Chito Jose Gonzalez Bustamante Rafferty. Like Target (1952) this one also features Linda Douglas (aka Mary Jo Tarola) in the lead female role. Frank Wilcox Robert Sherwood John Pickard Kenneth MacDonald and Tom London round out the cast. In this Tim Holt Western Tim & Chito are trail guides that help some homesteaders settle near a town run by ranchers that (naturally) don’t want them. Even though Chito would rather spend his time with “girls” (like those played by Wendy Waldron & Patricia Wright) the more serious job-minded Tim wants to help resolve the conflict by neutralizing those that are most opposed to the new residents. Of course that will mean befriending Douglas’s character.
After Tim & Chito successfully deliver the homesteaders to their new land they are fired upon by Kenny Master (Sherwood) who tells them that “those that put up fences” are not welcome in ranching territory. Tim explains that he and Chito are not homesteaders which he has to do again to Kenny’s sister Peg (Douglas). She reiterates that ranchers like she don’t want homesteaders to settle there before the two Masters siblings leave. Kenny goes straight to town where he hires casino owner Regan (Wilcox) and his henchman Dawson (Pickard) to steal the homesteaders’ (land) claims. The homesteaders’ wagon master Wheeler (MacDonald) is then shot & robbed of the deeds and all the homesteaders’ money before Tim & Chito can stop them.
Peg is unaware of her brother’s activities and thinks he just wants money to gamble away at the casino; she gives it to him anyway because he claims to be working on a deal that will pay handsomely. When Kenny goes to collect the deeds and pay off Regan suspects there must be some reason for his wanting them. He threatens to harm Kenny’s sister if he doesn’t cut him in on the deal; Kenny promises to leave town if Regan will promise not to harm his sister. Meanwhile Tim found a weapon at the place where Wheeler was robbed and thinks finding the owner of it will solve the crime. In fact it’s Regan’s pistol. Unfortunately the Marshal is never in town. Instead there’s an old man (London) trying to teach his old dog new tricks on the jail’s front steps. Tim & Chito return to the homesteaders to find Peg helping out Wheeler. He convinces her to give the homesteaders a chance that farmers & cowmen can be friends here like they are elsewhere in the country and she agrees to influence the others.
*** SPOILERS ***
Regan & Dawson escort Kenny home make him pack and then when Peg returns force him to leave with her carriage. Tim & Chito intercept Kenny convinced he’ll know who’s gun they found but Regan & Dawson follow and shoot Kenny before he can tell. Regan tells Dawson to take off for town so that Tim will follow him. When he does Regan captures Chito and takes him back to Kenny’s to tie him up. He then tells Peg that Chito killed her brother so that she’ll round up the other ranchers to drive away the homesteaders. Tim catches up with Dawson at the saloon beats him up then convinces him to rat out Regan. Chito outsmarts his captor and catches up with Tim who by now has found the homesteaders’ claims & money. They ride to Peg’s with Dawson under their control and capture Regan trying to escape. All is good in town Peg agrees that Tim was right the homesteaders & ranchers can get along. Instead of being tied down with a local lass Chito and then Tim ride off.