Richard Dix Web Page

1850 ...when native Californians were desperately fighting the rush of unscrupulous gold-seekers; when the strumming of guitars was interrupted by pistol shots...

When gold-greedy adventurers turn a languid, fun-loving, aristocratic youth into a terrorizing, night-riding Robin Hood... Bandit Murrietta --- the most romantic figure of early California.

Fred Kohler battles...

...Richard Dix

The Gay Defender
Released: December 10, 1927
7 Reels

Directed by
Gregory La Cava

Richard Dix .... Joaquin Murrieta
Thelma Todd .... Ruth Ainsworth
Fred Kohler .... Jake Hamby
Jerry Mandy .... Chombo
Robert Brower .... Ferdinand Murrieta
Harry Holden .... Padre Sebastian
Fred Esmelton .... Commissioner Ainsworth
Frances Raymond .... Aunt Emily
Ernie Adams .... Bart Hamby

Writing credits
Ray Harris
Grover Jones (story)
Herman J. Mankiewicz (titles)
George Marion Jr. (titles)
Sam Mintz
Kenneth Raisbeck

Cinematography by
Edward Cronjager

Glass Slide
The Gay Defender

Joaquin Murrietta, nephew of Ferdinand Murrietta, owner of the Imperial Rancho California, at a time when Claifornia has just become a newly acquired territory of the United States, in love with Ruth Ainsworth, daughter of the Government Commissioner.

Bart Hamby, an American, is caught by Chombo, Joaquin's faithful servent, stealing gold from the Murrietta property. Joaquin, indolent and carefree, has Bart released. The latter tells his brother, Jake, of the gold and Jake decides to get it. He sets out to kill Joaquin. Their meeting ends in a pistol duel with Jake missing and Joaquin reserving his shot for a future meeting. Jake, however, rides off with one of the Murrietta dueling pistols.

Joaquin seeks Ainsworth for his consent to marry Ruth. Friends, learning of his happiness, insist that he drink with them. Therefore when Joaquin reaches Ainsworth's office he is intoxicated. Ainsworth has been murdered! Discovered with the body, he is promptly seized and accused of the crime. Joaquin escapes and becomes a fugitive from justice while Jake's men take over Ainsworth's position to enforce a siege of terror.

Ruth, thinking Joaquin the murderer, is overcome with grief and old Ferdinand dies broken-hearted. The Hamby gang burn the Murrietta Hacienda and double all the taxes. Joaquin becomes a defender of the people, continually bursting in on Jake's men, demanding one-half of their plunder. This he gives to the mission through Chombo, to care for the oppressed. Although still deeply in love with Joaquin, Ruth makes plans to leave for San Francisco. She hires a carriage from one of Jake's henchmen. Joaquin, hearing of the trip, lies in wait for the carriage and jumps in. The driver recognizes him. While the lovers are oblivious of everything, he drives them to Jake's cabin where they are taken prisoners. Jake dismisses his men with the exception of a lone guard.

Chombo, who has followed, covers the guard with his gun. While Joaquin is overpowering Jake, Chombo's prisoner escapes. Joaquin is about to take the shot due him when Jake buys his life by promising to tell who killed Ainsworth. His confession enrages Joaquin, who still hopes to get revenge on Jake. They fight with a sword -- broken in two -- half for each man -- and finally resort to fists. Joaquin knocks Jake unconscious as Chombo rushes in to tell them that the escaped guard is approaching with Jake's gang.

Chombo helps Ruth, while Joaquin drags the insensible Jake to the carriage. They drive off as the gangsters arrive. Joaquin, Ruth and Chombo get out on the opposite side of the carriage and crawl into the bushes as the horsemen gallop past, firing into the cart. A bullet strikes Jake and he crumples to the floor.

Joaquin and Ruth start down the road to the mission. With Jake's rule of oppression at an end, serenity again settles down on the Imperial Rancho.

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The Gay Defender

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Credits Courtesy of the Internet Movie Database
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