Set at the time of the American Civil War, Border City has declared itself neutral as it borders two States which are on opposite sides. No one in uniform can come within 5 miles of the city without the permission of the town’s mayor, the forbidding Delilah Courtney (Nina Darela) who owns the local mine.
John Lund is her foreman (and an undercover Confederate officer).
Joan Leslie arrives by stage to join her brother (Reed Hadley). Also coming to town are Quantrill (Brian Donlevy) and his gang – including Quantrill’s wife, Kate (Audrey Totter) and Jesse James (Ben Cooper) and Cole Younger (Jim Davis).
In short time, Lund kills Hadley in the saloon and the bartender says to Joan, “Ma’am,this is your place now. What do you say to drinks on the house!”
The Mayor tells Quantrill to get out of town or she’ll call in the Union troops. Joan shows she has guts and keeps the saloon open.She asks the saloon gals (Virginia Christine and Ann Savage), “What do I need besides a fancy dress?”
Ann replies, “You need a painted smile that don’t wear off, a brassy,whisky voice and a big hello.”
Audrey Totter’s Kate is a loose cannon. She fights Joan and loses.And Joan outdraws her when they square off on the street.(That’s a fun scene!)
But before too long, the two women are working together. Though it’s a close call for Joan when the mayor wants to hang her for being a Confederate spy. (She’s actually trying to save Lund.)
Director Allan Dwan and writer Steve Fisher must have had fun with this story and I suspect all the ladies did too!
An unusual part for the late Audrey Totter. As usual, she made an impact.