The Night of the Juggernaut - Recap

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Jim and Artie ride up to a farm outside of Grey Ridge and knock at the door. The owner, Jan Jorgensen, doesn’t answer and Artie goes to the barn to check on him. Jim tries the door and discovers that it’s unlocked, and then hears Artie call out. He goes over to the barn and they realize that they’ve arrived too late. A large motorized and armored vehicle suddenly emerges from the barn and moves toward Artie, blinding him with its headlights. Jim fires at the vehicle without effect as it knocks down some crates on Artie. It then turns toward Jim and he gets out of the way and then climbs on top. It rams through the house, knocking Jim off and leaving him unconscious on the ground.

The next day aboard the Wanderer, Jim meets with Agent Tom Harwood of the Albuquerque office while Artie has two nurses attend to him. Jim admits that they’ll never find out what Jorgensen was going to tell them. The nurses help Artie in and Jim explains that Harwood was investigating the homesteaders near the Big Hill area. They’ve all been getting along fine except the ones near Grey Ridge, and Harwood figures that someone is going to a great deal of trouble to try and run the farmers out of the area. Jim figures that the person who settles the land once the farmers are run off is responsible. Jorgensen’s letter to the government mentioned another farmer, Lyle Dixon, who was being targeted as well, and Jim heads out to talk to him.

Jim goes to see the county clerk in Grey Ridge and asks to see the title papers for properties in the area. However, the clerk tells him that he doesn’t have any papers available on the properties that Jim is interested in. Two thugs come out of the back as the clerk says that they’re organizing the files and it will take at least a month. The agent goes outside and notices an old geezer whittling across the street, seated outside the general store. When Jim goes over and asks about Lyle Dixon, the geezer says he’ll be right along. Thugs working for the store owner throw Lyle out of the store and he tries to go back in, only to be shoved back again. Jim makes as if he’s going to beat the homesteader and then attacks the men holding Lyle instead. A crowd gathers, including businessman Theodore Beck and his servant, Lonie Millard. Beck complains about the senseless fighting. While Jim and Lyle take care of the thugs, one man goes for his gun and Beck deflects his aim and orders him to run.

Once the dust settles, Beck says that as a small community they should band together. Lyle points out that the store owner, Maddox, won’t take the homesteaders’ money. Maddox says that he’s following co-op policy and he can’t sell to a farmer who isn’t a co-op member. Beck condemns him but Maddox insists he has to go by the rules. However, when the townspeople side with Beck, Maddox reluctantly sells Lyle the supplies. Lyle then thanks Jim and Beck for their help and nods to Lonie. She admits that she was worried about him. As Lyle goes to get his supplies, Beck introduces Lonie to Jim and he helps her into their carriage. The businessman assures Jim that it’s a friendly community but the ranchers resent the homesteaders coming in and taking their land. Beck speaks nobly of trying to end the division between the two sides and then leaves.

When Lyle comes back out, Jim mentions Jorgensen to him and says that the man sent a letter to Washington. Lyle invites Jim to a meeting of the farmers that night so he can hear what they have to say.

At the train, Artie is alone making explosive pellets when Jim comes in and wonders where the nurses are. His partner shows him the explosives and explains that they’re only activated by heat. Jim brings him up to speed on what he’s learned and Artie says that he’ll be at the meeting.

That night, some of the farmers argue that they should leave. Lyle wants to stay and suggests that they start their own co-op. He insists that they should stand up and fight, and introduces Jim. Lyle insists that they should band together and keep their homes. At that, the juggernaut revs up outside and Jim orders everyone out. The machine smashes through the wall and one farmer trips. As Jim goes to help him, the juggernaut closes in and Jim gets the farmer out of the way just in time. The machine smashes through the other side of the barn and starts to back up. Jim leaps on top, tosses Artie’s explosive into the exhaust pipe, and jumps off. The juggernaut limps off as Jim warns the homesteaders that if any of them cave then their opponents will know they can all be pressured.

Despite Jim’s warnings, the homesteaders are ready to give in. Artie rides up and says that he’ll buy their land temporarily with government notes, and they can buy it back in ten days and live on it in the meantime. The homesteaders agree and Artie tells Jim that he looked at the title papers. All of the men moving in are known outlaws and they’re signing their land over to the DNF Land Company. The owner is unidentified, but the agents figure that he’ll step out once he learns that Artie has bought all of the land. In the meantime, Jim plans to follow the juggernaut’s tracks.

The next day, a disguised Artie shows up at the county clerk office posing as a rich Texan land baron, Ellsworth Caldwell. The clerk is surprised to learn that Artie has bought 11,400 acres. Bock comes out of the back and welcomes him to Grey Ridge, and offers to buy him a drink at the saloon. Artie agrees as soon as he files the papers and Bock tells the clerk to file the papers immediately. Bock is glad to be able to deal with one person instead of a group of farmers, and explains that he represents the farmers’ co-op. Artie assures him that he doesn’t plan to sell and Bock says that they’ll talk about it over drinks.

Jim rides off after the juggernaut and comes to a compound with numerous men and a large stable

Artie and Bock drink while Bock’s thugs watch from nearby. Bock finally offers Artie double what he paid and offers him a drink to close the deal. Artie refuses to sell at any price and Bock has the bartender bring over a fresh bottle to toast Artie’s success. The bartender drugs the drink and Artie, realizing what’s going on, finally drinks it since he’s surrounded and because it’ll get him to the head of the operation. He promptly passes out and Bock tells his men to load Artie onto the wagon.

Jim sneaks into the compound and breaks into a second-story window. He finds Lonie in her quarters, writing some papers, and reads them. They confirm that she’s the president of the DNF Land Company, signing the papers for Bock, and Jim warns her that the man is using her. Lonie doesn’t believe that Bock is running out the homesteaders and insists that he’s helped everyone. Bock took her in when her family died, but Jim warns that she’s the unwitting front for a crooked land syndicate. Jim confirms that she’s signed a will leaving everything to Bock if she dies. Lonie threatens to call the guards but Jim asks if she’ll help him if he can prove Bock is using her. He offers to take her to the barn, saying there’s something there that she needs to see.

Lonie goes to the barn and distracts the guard so that Jim can knock him out. They go inside and discover that it’s apparently just a barn. However, a secret panel opens and they quickly hide as the two of the thugs leave. Inside is a smithy set up to maintain and repair the juggernaut. Once the mechanic leaves, Jim and Lonie examine the machine and then Jim slips out the back, telling Lonie to stay there. In the next room he finds an underground oil refinery.

Bock and his men arrive with Artie and the businessman notices that the door to the refinery is open. He closes it without seeing Jim and then tells Artie to sign over the land. Lonie secretly watches as Bock offers Artie $5 an acre and threatens to torture him until he does sign. When Artie refuses, Lonie runs in and Bock’s men grab her. Jim leaps in and attacks the thugs, but Bock takes Lonie hostage and forces Jim to surrender.

Bock and his men tie up Jim and Lonie, and then suggests that Jim convince Artie to sign over the land and then they’ll all be released. If Jim doesn’t, Bock has forged Jim’s signature to a letter inviting the farmers to another meeting even as they speak. He plans to use the juggernaut to wipe out the farmers once and for all, and Jim explains that Bock has discovered oil under the land. The businessman admits that he found it, but then the government opened the land to homesteaders. Bock refuses to let the farmers deprive him of what is his, and promises that they’ll be happy to do whatever he says by the time he’s through with them. He rides off with his men, telling the juggernaut driver to catch up with them at Lyle’s farm.

Once Bock and his men leave, Jim and Artie try to unscrew the pipe that they’re tied to. When that fails, Jim uses a sleeve winch, fires a dart into the wall, and hooks the winch itself to the pipe. He then triggers the self-winding mechanism and the pipe pulls out of its fastener. The agents slip free and go into the barn. The driver spots them and tries to seal himself in, but Jim knocks him out and they get in and they start to pull out of the barn. As they wrestle with the controls, the driver runs out and warns the men. Their guns are useless against the armored vehicle, and even dynamite and Gatling guns have no effect. Artie drives the juggernaut through the wall and heads for Lyle’s farm.

Bock and his men ride up to Lyle’s barn and tell him that he can get out now if he surrenders. The farmers are waiting and open fire, and Bock’s men return fire.

Artie makes best speed but warns that it wasn’t intended to take full pressure. When Jim points out that they may already be too late, Artie pushes it to the maximum. They arrive at the farm and pull up to the barn, and Jim opens the hatch. He gets Lonie out and the agents drive toward Bock and his men. Artie warns that the boiler is going to blow, while Bock orders his men to stay in place. The agents aim the juggernaut at the attackers and jump out. The gunmen, unaware that the boiler is on the verge of exploding, rush to recapture the machine. It blows up, stunning most of them, and the farmers move in to take care of the few still standing.

Later on the Wanderer, Lonie is meeting with Jim and Artie. Thanks to Bock’s financial arrangements, Lonie receives most of his money. The farmers who left will soon be coming back. Lyle arrives and thanks them on behalf of the homesteaders. Lonie starts to leave and Lyle invites her to stay. She wonders if there’s a reason to stay and he says that he’d like her to stay.

The Wanderer goes on its way and stops off at a town along the way. When Jim comes back later, he discovers that Artie has left him a note saying that he’s gone to the hospital to check on his leg. An attractive woman knocks at the door and explains that she’s Dr. Virginia Mays, on staff with the hospital. Jim complains about sudden shoulder pains but she tells him that she only came by to pass on a message from Artie. Artie said that he had unforeseen complications and will be staying in town to convalesce. Jim points out that Artie had the same complications last time he was in town, and he required two nurses. Virginia agrees to look at Jim’s shoulder and tells him that it’s perfect condition. She wonders what she’s going to do with him and Jim suggests dinner and the theater.