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Springfield Rifle

 

Starring Gary Cooper, Phyllis Thaxter, and Lon Chaney, Jr. Following the success of High Noon, Gary Cooper starred in this Western that is exciting from start to finish. Full of plot twists and turns, battle scenes, and an early appearance by a very young Fess Parker, it’s a Western and a thriller, with a shot of 100% fun to boot.

Major Lex Kearney is down on his luck. He’s been branded a coward by the Union and drummed out of the army with a dishonorable discharge. Back home, he’s on bad terms with his wife, Erin. His son, Jamie, has run away from home because he’s too ashamed to live with his disgraced father. Labeled a Southern-sympathizing copperhead and cast out of the army ranks, Kearney must now make his way in private life as a gun-for-hire.

What no one knows, of course, is that Kearney has accepted a fake discharge. He is really a Union spy, sent on a mission to infiltrate the ranks of the Confederacy.

Kearney is about to undertake a covert investigation to find out why the North’s supply of horses—desperately needed to win the war—is dwindling. But in order to do so, he must distance himself from everyone he loves, including his wife and son. Kearney must also appear to be completely untrustworthy to his fellow officers in the Union.

Kearney leaves home and heads to a remote Western post. As a seemingly disgruntled, discharged Union officer, it doesn’t take long for Kearney to gain the trust of some shady privateers and renegades. They’re all making a hefty sum stealing Union horses to sell to the Confederates, and someone is acting as the “inside man” for the operation. Now, Kearney aims to ferret out the traitor and bust the operation for good.

Being a double agent isn’t easy. Kearney knows that he can be exposed at any time and constantly wonders who to trust. As he spends more time with these Kansas jaywalkers and horse rustlers, he finds himself conflicted. While his fellow Union officers treat him with contempt and disgust, the Confederates are surprisingly kind to him, which complicates his own feelings about the mission.

But there’s a war to be won…and horses that need to be saved for the Union cause. Will Kearney be able to break the thieves’ operation and bring the guilty to justice before it’s too late?