The Sheriff of Rio Rojo
Director: Robert M. White
Script: Helmut Harun
Camera: Joseph Tor
Music: Frank Mason
Editor: Fred Srp
Asst. Director: Lore Meyer-Döhner
Asst. Producer: Marianne Burges
Producer: Franz Thierry
Executive Producer: Dr. Alfons Carcasona
|Georgina White||Sabine Bethmann|
|Hondo||Karl Otto Alberty|
|Michael||Reno de Angelis|
After a long, lonely ride, Sheriff Oklahoma John reaches his new territory, the town of Rio Rojo. Just as he arrives, there’s a fight going on between Hondo, whom everyone in the town is afraid of, and Michael, who’s nearly always drunk. John breaks up the fight and demonstrates right from the start that he’s not a man to be fooled around with.
First John takes a look at his office which has completely gone to seed from disuse. There he meets and befriends an eccentric old man, Cruck. Then, together with Cruck, he walks around the town. While making his rounds, John learns a few things about what’s going on in the town for instance, that the wealthy ranch owner, Edwards, uses his foreman Hondo and his cowboys to control the area. John also meets Georgina White. However, she gives him the cold shoulder. At the same time, John learns the reason. A year ago, during a robbery of the mail coach, her father was murdered. Up until now, no sheriff has been able to find the murderer.
Later, in the town saloon, Hondo provokes another clash with John in which Edwards edgy son, Jimmy, also takes part. John and Cruck also meet Georgina’s friendly, slightly overweight companion again. Watson owns the saloon and invites them to have a drink.
John visits the rancher, Edwards. Even though he has no real proof of wrongdoing, John lets the rancher know in no uncertain terms that he’d better keep a tighter rein on his men and especially on his son, Jimmy. The sheriff intends to take harder action than his predecessors.
The only person he doesn’t impress is Georgina whom he accidentally comes upon while she’s swimming in the river. She tells him she’s convinced that only Edwards could have murdered her father so that he could buy up the White’s land cheaply.
Neither of them could know that, at this very moment, Jim is in a discussion with a mysterious stranger during which the name White also falls. This stranger apparently gives Hondo and his men their orders.
A few days after John has talked to Ken Hogg, who witnessed the stagecoach robbery and recognized Jim, Ken ist found murdered.
But things don’t end there. Hondo loudly claims that he doubts John is even legally sheriff and he burns the sheriff’s orders in front of John’s face. Watson tries to stop him but is too late. As soon as John is out of earshot, the stranger’s voice calls Hondo a fool.
Although John now has a second ally in Michael, the man he threw behind bars on his first day in town for drunkeness, he still isn t able to get any more information about White s murder. Nor does a visit from Edwards help him any further. Instead, Georgina, who has learned of Edwards visit, now accuses him of being in cahoots with the ranch owner just like all the other sheriffs before him.
In her disappointment, Georgina now falls completely into Watson’s hands. She signs a contract selling him her land. As the saloon owner places his signature on the contract, a serpent ring is visible on his finger.
In the meantime, Cruck has found a piece of evidence pointing to the murderer of Ken Hogg a spur, the same spur which is missing from one of Jim’s boots. To everyone s amazement, John doesn t immediately turn Jim over to justice. But John knows that someone else is behind the things that are going on. John finds more proof for his suspicions when he discovers laboratory samples in Ken s house which prove that oil has been discovered on White’s land. John keeps quiet about what he has found even when Georgina accuses him of Ken Hogg’s murder.
Rio Rojo is getting too hot for Hondo and Jim. They take off for Mexico. On the way they rob a bank in a small town. Hondo shoots the cashier and the two of them make their getaway with the loot. Strangely enough, they now meet up with Watson. Watson then roughs himself up for appearance’s sake and informs John that Hondo and a sidekick robbed the bank. John, together with Michael and Cruck, goes after the two of them.
Hondo and Jim argue during their flight. Shots are exchanged. John and his two friends are at the scene quickly. John is forced to shoot Hondo to end the gunfight. John, Michael and Cruck ride back to town,leaving Jim to get back to town himself.
Meanwhile, Watson has taken advantage of John s absence to inform Edwards that John has shot his son. Completely devastated by this news, Edwards challenges John to a shootout the next morning.
When morning comes, the entire population of Rio Rojo is on the street Edwards with the cowboys and John with the townspeople who are on his side. However, the fight never takes place because, at this moment, the badly wounded Jim rides into town. He confesses everything to his father, begs his forgiveness and dies in his arms.
Late in the evening of the same day, Watson and John face each other alone in the saloon. Watson brazenly asks whether the game is over now. John has to admit that he has no solid evidence against Watson, only a gut feeling that he is the man behind everything. But Watson celebrates victory too soon. Just as he raises his glass to drink to John’s health, he s hit by a fatal bullet fired by Edwards who has just come in. The rancher justifies his action to John by showing him his son’s farewell letter which Jimmy wrote before he left for Mexico. In the letter Jimmy explains everything.
John also gains a personal victory. Georgina is now finally convinced that Rio Rojo has a topnotch sheriff.