At the Banning Mine Company, Lance Garth rides out with the payroll and the foreman Kels Gregory shoots at him. He and a worker ride after him into the hills but lose him the dark. Kels heads back to the mine and the worker rides into Porter to get Hoby.
Lance gets into Porter and gets to the apartment of Grace Marsden. She lets him when he identifies himself... and he collapses on the floor. Lance tells Grace to get him a doctor... and Hoby.
The next morning, Hoby, Tenner, Kels, and Grace wait downstairs while Doc Vickers tends to Lance. He finally comes down and says that Lance is dead, and Grace breaks into tear. Tenner objects when Hoby prepares to question Grace, but Hoby says that he has no choice and Grace agrees. She explains what happened and says that they were good friends but nothing more. Hoby points out that Lance was married, but Grace insists that there was nothing more between them.
Lance's wife Bess arrives and Hoby has Ralph take her upstairs to Lance's body. As they go, Bess glares at Grace. Kels tells Hoby that he caught Lance robbing the safe, and explains that as paymaster he had access to the safe. Hoby is surprised to hear that Lance was involved, and Kels says that he needs the money. Grace reports that he had no money when Lance came into him, and Hoby says that they'll search the area.
Ralph brings Bess back down and Hoby asks her why Lance would want to rob the mine. She says that Lance was going to leave her and needed the money. She claims that she didn't know he was going to rob the safe, and says that Lance was going with Grace. Grace insists that it isn't true and doesn't believe that Lance robbed the payroll. Bess asks if Hoby is going to arrest Grace. When Hoby points out that he has no grounds, Bess says that she is sending for Lance's brother Jed. Hoby warns her that no one is going to turn it into more of a killing matter. Kels goes after Bess to calm her down but warns that it might not do much good.
Hoby goes to the bank and the banker says that nobody deposited $10,000. Henrietta comes by as two townspeople pass Grace and the wife angrily pulls her husband along past the woman. The editor figures that Grace is innocent until proven guilty, but Hoby figures that they have a right to act suspicious until he finds the money. Grace goes by in a carriage and Henrietta worries that Jed will kill Bess when he arrives on the next stage.
Hoby follows Grace out to the country, and approaches her. She says that she can't lead him to the money and doesn't think that Lance took it. Grace points out that Lance wouldn't have called for Hoby if he was guilty, and Hoby suggests that she leave town for a few days. She refuses to look suspicious, and Hoby warns that Jed is coming and he'll need some time to cool him off. Despite that, Grace refuses to go and asks for some time alone to mourn.
When Hoby arrives at the Garth ranch, he asks Bess for her help. He wants her to meet Jed with him in the hopes that she can stop him. Bess figures that Grace has the payroll, saying that she's too evil. She refuses to stop Jed, warning that nobody can stop her brother-in-law, and goes inside.
When Hoby returns to town, Tenner approaches him and says that Grace is going to meet Jed. With five minutes until the stage arrives, Hoby and Tenner go to Grace's room. Hoby warns that Jed is a hothead, but Grace says that she wants to get it over with. Vickers arrives to give Grace a pill, and Grace reluctantly agrees. She soon passes out and Tenner gets her into bed. Grace mutters that she doesn't want to live anymore, and Hoby realizes that she and Lance loved each other. She insists that it never came to anything and she always sent Lance back to Bess, and then passes out. Tenner has his men take her to Vickers' office.
The stage arrives at Porter and Hoby goes out to greet Jed. He tells Jed that there's nothing to do, but Jed figures that Grace killed Lance even if she didn't pull the trigger.
Later, Hoby goes to the newspaper office but Jed intercepts him and asks where Grace is. When Hoby refuses to say, Jed promises that he'll find her soon or later. The Ranger says that everyone is going to sit quiet until he solves the case, and goes on to Henrietta's office. He wants her to print a story announcing that he found the payroll and will release the whole story in 24 hours. Hoby says that he believes Grace and needs to flush out the thief. Henrietta agrees to publish the story.
When the newspaper goes out, Tenner confronts Hoby and accuses him of putting Grace through a lot of grief when he knew that the payroll had been recovered. Hoby sees Kels ride out, and tells Tenner what happened... and wonders why Kels didn't come to him to ask about the payroll. Hoby follows Kels out of town to the Garth ranch. Inside, Kels accuses Bess of bungling the whole thing. They go out to the shed to check the money, while Hoby watches from the window.
The two thieves dig through a barrel of grain and find the stolen $10,000. They realize that Hoby tricked them, just as Hoby arrives. Kels goes for his gun and Hoby shoots his hand, and figures that Lance caught Kels robbing the staff.
Later, Ralph and Tenner are helping Grace to the stage. Hoby is waiting and Grace thanks him for his help. She says that there are too many memories in Porter for her to stay. As she goes to the stage, the townspeople apologize to her for their earlier treatment. Jed tips his hat to her and helps her aboard, and Hoby and Tenner watch the stage depart.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 19, 2017