1880, a motley group of strangers boards the east-bound stagecoach
from Tonto, Arizona Territory to Lordsburg, New Mexico Territory.
Among them are Dallas, a prostitute who is being driven out of
town by the members of the "Law and Order League"; an alcoholic
doctor, Doc Boone; Lucy Mallory, who is traveling to see her
cavalry officer husband; and whiskey salesman Samuel Peacock.
When the stage driver, Buck, looks for his normal shotgun guard, he
is told by Marshal Curly Wilcox that he has gone out to look for a
fugitive, the Ringo Kid. Buck tells Marshal Wilcox that Luke
Plummer is in Lordsburg. Knowing that the Kid has vowed to avenge
the deaths of his father and brother at Plummer's hands, the
marshal decides to ride along.
As they start to pull out, U.S. cavalry Lieutenant Blanchard informs
them that Geronimo and his Apaches are on the warpath. His small
troop will provide an escort until they get to Dry Fork. Gambler
and Southern gentleman Hatfield joins them to provide protection
for Mrs. Mallory. At the edge of town, the stage is flagged down
by pompous banker Henry Gatewood,, who is sneaking away with
$50,000 embezzled from his bank.
Along the way, they come across the Ringo Kid, whose horse had
become lame and left him afoot. Even though they are friends,
Curly has no choice but to take Ringo into custody. As the trip
progresses, Ringo takes a strong liking to Dallas.
When they reach Dry Fork, they are informed that the expected
cavalry detachment has moved on to Apache Wells. The passengers
vote on whether to press on or turn back. With only Peacock
objecting, they go on and reach Apache Wells.
There, Mrs. Mallory faints when she hears that her husband had been
wounded in battle. She begins to go into labor. Doc Boone is
called upon to help her through her childbirth. Eventually, Dallas
emerges with a healthy baby. Later that night, Ringo asks Dallas
to marry him. She does not give him an immediate answer, afraid to
reveal her checkered past, but the next morning, she agrees to
marry him if he promises to give up his plan to take on the
Plummers. Encouraged by Dallas, Ringo makes a break for it, but
turns back when he sees signs of Indians.
When they reach Lee's Ferry, they find the station and the ferry
burned down and the people either dead or having fled. They tie
large logs to each side of the stagecoach and float it across the
river. Just when they think that they are in the clear, the
stagecoach is chased by the Apaches.
Curly releases the Kid from his handcuffs to help fight them off.
During a long chase, when things look bleak, Hatfield is about to
kill Mrs. Mallory with his last bullet to save her from being
taken alive when he is fatally wounded. Just then, the 6th U.S.
cavalry charges to the rescue.
When the passengers finally arrive in Lordsburg, Gatewood is
arrested by the local sheriff, and Lucy is told that her husband's
wound is not serious. Dallas begs Ringo not to go up against the
Plummers, but he is determined to settle matters.
In the ensuing shootout, the Kid dispatches Luke and his two
brothers. He returns to Wilcox, expecting to go back to jail. He
asks the lawman to take Dallas to his ranch. However, when Ringo
gets on a wagon to say goodbye to her, Curly and Doc laugh and
start the horses moving, letting him "escape".
Claire Trevor as Dallas
John Wayne as The Ringo Kid
Devine as Buck
John Carradine as Hatfield
as Doc Boone
Louise Platt as Lucy Mallory
as Marshal Curly Wilcox
Donald Meek as Samuel Peacock
Berton Churchill as Henry Gatewood
Tim Holt as Lieutenant
Tom Tyler as Luke Plummer
Yakima Canutt as
Cavalry scout, uncredited stunt coordinator and second unit
Chris-Pin Martin as Chris
Chief White Horse as
The screenplay is an adaptation by
Dudley Nichols of "The Stage to Lordsburg," a short story by
Ernest Haycox. The rights to "Lordsburg" were bought by John Ford
soon after it was published in Collier's magazine on April 10,
The movie was filmed in Monument Valley along the Arizona - Utah