Murder in Yellowstone Park. The movie features the park and some real overacting, especially from Henry Hunter as a park ranger and Alan Hale as a private detective. Laced throughout is a romance between the ranger and a visitor that is so loaded with corn it’s beyond annoying. The ending has some interesting elements but not nearly enough to save this dud.
Ruth Foster (Judith Barrett) is among the visitors to Yellowstone. Instantly park ranger Dick Sherwood (Henry Hunter) is smitten. For comedy relief Andy Devine is on the scene as Pay-Day. He’s accompanied by his mule Gertrude and wants to be a ranger so he can meet girls.
Ruth is there to meet her father. He’s been in Australia and she hasn’t seen him in eighteen years. Coming into the park are naturalist professor Ross, private detective John Alexander Hardigan (Alan Hale) and gangsters Marty Ryan and Dynamite (Paul Fix). Finally James Foster shows up and had a nervous reunion with Ruth.
That night in the dining room the Fosters are at their table when Ryan asks the hostess to introduce him to Foster. He dances with Ruth and that give Hardigan a chance to sit at the table and strike up a conversation with Foster. He’s a loudmouth and makes small talk.
Later Ruth and Dick go to the campfire festivities. On hand is tall tale teller Old Pete. He tells the story of the Jenkins gang that robbed a bank twenty years ago. He says they were all dealt with. Some are dead and others in jail. The money is still buried in the park.
Ryan goes to Foster’s cabin and reveals he’s the son of Jenkins and he’s their for his share of the money. Turns out Foster has been in San Quentin for eighteen years and was a member of the gang and he’s there to dig up the loot. Jenkins wants half.
Foster leaves Ruth a note that he’s gone fishing. Before he rides out he gets in an argument with Dick about leaving without a guide. They start shouting at each other and Foster rides off. When he doesn’t return the next morning Ruth reports him missing to chief ranger Radell.
Now the whole place is excited. The geyser Old Bess that hasn’t erupted for twenty-seven years is about to make a return appearance. Everyone gathers around to see it. It puts on a show and then Foster’s body is thrown out with the boiling water. He has a bullet wound in his neck but it’s determined he died when he was frozen to death.
Radell closes the park and allows Hardigan to interrogate the suspects. It looks real bad for Dick. Things finally get a bit interesting but it’s all overdone. If they had left well enough alone the movie may have had a chance to be a decent B but it all falls apart.