Decent B movie brings the 1953 Luke Short western novel “Silver Rock” into the present day. Rod Cameron is a Korean War vet out to con a man into giving him shares in his tungsten mine.
Tully Gibbs (Rod Cameron) finds out a mine Kevin Russell (Chill Wills) owns is a lot richer than he knows. Kevin’s late son Al wrote letters home saying what a great guy Tully is. That’s suspicious because Al never had a kind word about anyone. Can’t check with him since he died of his war wounds.
As soon as Tully gets off the bus in the small mountain town He’s nearly run over by a drunk driver. He yells a name at him and the man stops and gets out of the car. He’s so drunk Tully flips him into the back seat. The girl with him says she’ll get him home. As she starts to walk into her place the man grabs her but she fights him off and slams the door.
The next day Tully goes out to the ranch and introduces himself to Kevin. Tully is invited to a town dance The man from last night is there. He’s the town bully, Ben Hodes (John Russell). The girl is there too. She’s Sarah Moffit (Joan Leslie). Ben isn’t happy when Tully cuts in to dance with Sarah. That ends in a challenge to take it outside.
They make a bet. If Tully wins the battle Ben has to give him a note from the bank for ten thousand dollars. If he loses then Tully has to stay away from Sarah. After a lengthy brawl Tully comes out the winner. Kevin offers Tully an equal share in the mine. That’s worth a million bucks. Ben and his half sister Beth have a local tungsten mine and Ben has been trying to get Kevin’s.
Tully uses the money to get the mine operation going. The local newspaper publisher, Sam Horne (Jim Davis) helps out with publicity. Tully gets nowhere with county commissioners about getting equipment to build a road. That’s because Ben has bribed one of them to stop any and all of Tully’s efforts. Undeterred Tully orders a bulldozer from an out of town company. On the way to Kevin’s the dozer is hijacked and it’s engine smashed up. Tully and Kevin chase the hijackers and bullets fly. The hijackers get away.
Tully goes to Sarah who works in the county recorder’s office. He gives her a list of what he needs to repair it. She’ll call the company for him. When he leaves she recognizes the handwriting as the same on the letters supposedly written home to Kevin from his son. She shows the proof to Sam. They decide to wait and see what happens.
Sam is sweet on Beth and she moves out of the house away from her controlling half brother.
Ben’s next move is to have a huge pine tree block an access road so trucks can’t get through to Kevin’s. He pulls another dirty deal to prove he owns the road despite proof from Kevin that he has an easement on the property. Tully threatens a grand jury investigation. Ben leaves town. One day Tully hears a strange sound while driving along the road with Sarah, Beth and Sam. Ben has another dirty trick up his sleeve.
This is a decent movie with some good action. Once you realize it’s taken from a western novel you can see the elements…shootouts, brawls, horses, mines, a ranch and even a tumbleweed or two.
John Russell did a lot of TV. He’s best known as Marshal Dan Troop on “Lawman” (1958-62).