Northwest Stampede

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Western, USA, 1948, 79 min.


Synopsis When rodeo performer Dan Bennett receives a letter from Chris Johnson, the new foreman of his father's Bar-B ranch, informing him that his father has died, he decides to cancel his bookings and go home to rural Alberta. Accompanied by his pal, Mike Kirby, Dan returns to the ranch for the first time in several years and discovers that "Chris" is a woman. Because he wants to sell the ranch and is curious about Chris, whom he is certain he has seen before, Dan decides to keep his identity a secret and pose as a ranchhand seeking work. Although his dog "Flame" and long-time hand Mileaway recognize Dan, they keep his secret, and Chris hires Dan, who says that his name is "Clarence." Soon Dan learns about a magnificent white stallion who comes to the ranch looking for his captive palomino mare. After the stallion succeeds in freeing the mare and other formerly wild horses kept at the Bar-B, Dan learns that the stallion is actually "Blizzard," a young colt Dan once brought in out of the snow. Impressed with Blizzard's spirit and beauty, Dan decides to try to capture him and use the horse in his rodeo appearances. While Chris and the others attempt to round up the herd, Dan spots Blizzard and, with Flame's help, manages to rope the stallion. When Dan tries to break Blizzard, the horse stomps him. Then Chris comes to his rescue and turns the horse loose. She then reveals that she knew all along who he was and did not want him to sell the ranch. The two argue when Dan insists that he will go through with the sale, prompting Chris to file a labor lien on the ranch for back wages which she used to buy new stock. Chris is herself a former championship rodeo performer, and when Dan enters several events at the Calgary Stampede, she decides to compete against him. By the final day of competition, Dan and Chris are tied for first place. During the final event, the chuck wagon race, a wheel comes off Chris's wagon and Dan wins. When Dan looks for Chris to pay her back wages, though, he discovers that she has bought four horses in his name at an auction, thereby committing all his prize money. Later, Chris decides to leave the ranch as Dan has not changed his mind about selling, but the men do not want her to leave and encourage her to make one last attempt to convince Dan to keep the ranch. When Dan goes off on another search for Blizzard, she rides along and causes him to lose his blanket and food supplies, thus obligating him to ask her for help. They eventually find the stallion and the mare and almost corner Blizzard but he dives into a river and swims away. Dan swims after him and manages to put a rope round his neck. Blizzard finally remembers Dan and calms down. Dan, however, realizes that the horse belongs in the wild and turns him loose. When Dan returns to the ranch, he finds both Blizzard and the mare in the corral. Chris has caught the mare and Blizzard willingly followed her into the corral. Chris tells Dan that the horse is settling down at last and will stop its wandering. Thinking that she still has not convinced Dan to stay, she starts to leave, but is lassoed by Dan.

Directed by Albert S. Rogell  

Starring Joan Leslie, James Craig, Jack Oakie, Chill Wills, Victor Kilian, more...

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