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Riding the Wind (1942) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • It's the ranchers whose cattle are dying of thirst versus Henry Dodge whose dam holds all the water. When windmills are built and they start pumping water, Dodge has them blown up. When a court order forces him to release the water, he decides to blow up the dam and flood the valley.

  • Whopper (Lee "Lasses" White) and Smokey (Ray Whitley) come to Los Gatos to ask Clay Stewart (Tim Holt) for a job on his recently acquired Tumbleweed Ranch. Clay has just learned that Henry Dodge (Eddie Dew) has built a dam on his ranch which will deprive the other ranchers of water unless they make a deal with him. Clay and other neighbors, including Tappan (Karl Hackett) and Bert McLeod (Earle Hodgins) attend a meeting to protest Dodge's unwarranted action. Jackson (Larry Steers), the ranchers' lawyer, tells them that the judge who ruled in favor of Dodge based his decision on English Common Law which allows a man to buy both the land and the water flowing through it, while Spanish Law allows only the purchase of the land, with the use of the water being guaranteed to those whose property lies along the stream. Jackson will appeal the decision to the Territorial Court in Albuquerque, but the ranchers make a decision to have a well sunk and the water pumped by a windmill. Windmill builder Ezra Westfall (Charles Phipps), on his way to Los Gatos with his daughter Joan (Joan Barclay, in the first of her RKO films under a two-year contract and billed here for the only time as Mary Douglas), is attacked by Dodge's henchmen who throw his equipment into a canyon. The ranchers, led by Clay, Smokey and Whopper,join forces to retreive and repair the equipment, and manage to get the project under way. But Dodge's men set the workshop on fire. Clay goes to see Dodge and pretends that the ranchers are licked and willing to sign a contract to buy water from him. He does this to gain time to finish the windmill which was not damaged by the fire. It is completed and erected but Dodge manages to destroy it also. The incensed ranchers are about to take the law in their own hands when Jackson arrives with a favorable decision from Albuquerque. Realizing he has lost, Dodge attempts to dynamite his dam in order to flood the ranches, but Clay and his friends prevent him from doing so.


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