It is 1870 and in the opening chapter of Republic's Adventures of Red Rider, the government is ready to buy up available lands west of the Pecos in order to erect the transcontinental railroad. An interested witness to this important decision is crooked lawyer Calvin Drake (Harry Worth), who has his chief henchman Ace Hanlon (Noah Beery) wage a campaign of terror against the local landowners. Soon bodies are scattered all over the area, and the list of victims soon also includes Sheriff Andrews (Lloyd Ingraham) and Colonel Tom Ryder (William Farnum), a noted rancher. The latter's young son, Red (Donald Barry), takes out two of Hanlon's hired killers (José De La Cruz and Charles Thomas) and a third, Shark (Ray Teal), is apprehended by Deputy Sheriff Lawson (Gene Alsace) after a furious barroom brawl. But Lawson and the local stage driver are both in the employ of Hanlon, and Shark is soon hightailing it out of town with Beth (Vivian Austin), the daughter of the late sheriff, as his hostage. Little Beaver (Tommy Cook), Red's juvenile Indian pal, has overheard Hanlon and Shark discussing the escape route, and the hero takes up the pursuit. Climbing onboard the coach at high speed, Red rescues Beth from Shark, but as the chapter ends, the runaway stage is seen plunging into a ravine.
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