Frontier Marshal

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/History/Romance/Western, USA, 1939, 71 min.

Synopsis In the 1880s Western mining town of Tombstone, Ben Carter, owner of The Palace of Pleasure saloon, complains that his chief competitor, The Belle Union, has brought in Chicago saloon girls to take away his business. He gets Indian Charlie, one of his men, drunk, and Charlie in turn shoots up the place. When the town's marshal refuses to stop Charlie's rampage, Wyatt Earp, an ex-Army scout, steps forward and surprises everyone by beating Charlie to the draw. When offered the job of marshal, Earp refuses, until he is taken out on the mesa by Curly Bill and others in Carter's gang, and is beaten for being a "volunteer marshal." As the new marshal, Earp begins to clean up Tombstone, making an enemy of dance hall girl, Jerry, whom he catches cheating at poker. Gunslinger Doc Holliday arrives to defend Jerry's "honor," goading Earp to draw. When Holliday has a coughing attack, however, Earp comes to his defense, stopping Dan Blackmore, another gambler, from shooting him. Earp and Holliday become friends, much to Jerry's chagrin. Sarah Allen, Holliday's old fiancée, finds him in Tombstone after searching for him for two years. Holliday, a former physician, orders her to leave, telling her that he is not the man she knew in Illinois. Later, Eddie Foy, celebrated song and dance man, arrives in town to appear at The Belle Union. Just before he is about to perform, he is kidnapped by Buck Newton and forced to play at The Place of Pleasure instead. Earp and Holliday rescue Foy, with Holliday killing Newton. Later, drunk and out of control, Holliday is knocked unconscious by Earp, who takes him back to his room and finds a picture of Sarah in Holliday's wallet. Earp goes to Sarah, telling her not to leave, that Holliday does care about her and will die if she leaves. Jerry, learning that Earp will be riding shotgun on the next gold shipment, goes to Carter to help him and his gang hold up the stage and kill Earp. The hold-up is foiled, however, as Earp is joined on the stage by Holliday, who was leaving Tombstone to get away from Sarah. During the ensuing confrontation, Carter is killed and Holliday is wounded. Earp orders The Place of Pleasure closed, resulting in a gunfight. Earp escapes unhurt, but Pablo, a young Mexican boy, is accidentally shot. The town doctor is gone, so Holliday, with Sarah's assistance, is forced to operate and saves the boy's life. Leaving the bar, Holliday is ambushed and killed by Curly Bill and his men. Earp meets the gang at the O. K. Corral, killing all but Curly Bill, who escapes into town. When Curly Bill tries to shoot Earp in the back, Jerry kills him with Holliday's gun. Sarah decides to stay in the cleaned-up Tombstone, while Jerry chooses to leave. Before departing, however, Jerry stops at Holliday's tombstone, and reads its simple but poignant epitaph.

Directed by Allan Dwan  

Starring Randolph Scott, Nancy Kelly, Cesar Romero, Binnie Barnes, John Carradine, more...

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