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A man who has parked his car and is looking into the Grand Canyon with binoculars experiences a murder attempt. The killer releases the emergency brake and pushes the vehicle toward the man, intending to have the car strike him and knock him over the edge. The man is able to leap out of the way at the last moment. A fierce struggle ensues and the man kills his attacker by using his foot to shove him over the rim. The man is then seen wandering, dishevelled and talking apparent nonsense, by Eli, an old prospector who tells a Deputy Sheriff about it. However, Eli has a reputation for telling tall tales, so the deputy ignores him to chase an attractive woman, Janice Kendon, speeding recklessly down the road. On returning to the abandoned mining office Eli calls home, he finds the man dead, hanging with his hands bound behind him.
The Deputy and Janice team up to solve the murders. Janice unwittingly provides the vital clue when she identifies the hanged man’s suit jacket as being made by an exclusive New York City tailor. It develops that he is an Eastern executive of an Arizona mining company. Martin correctly assumes the only reason the man would make a cross-country trip is to investigate possible theft from the company.
Meanwhile, Eli becomes the murderer’s next victim; stabbed to death by someone he welcomes into his home as a friend.
Janice’s brother Bob is a rich wastrel who spends most of his days at Scotty O’Brien’s tavern; the sole drinking spot within auto range. While Martin is at Janice’s house, Bob rushes out after a mysterious phone call. A worried Janice follows him, and Martin follows Janice. O’Brien is the killer. The “jolly saloonkeeper” has been illegally extracting gold from a closed mine, and expects Bob to fly him to Las Vegas in a private plane. When Bob discovers the murders, he refuses—and O’Brien kills Bob just as Janice drives up.
O’Brien takes Janice hostage in her car and disables Martin’s patrol car with bullets. O’Brien thinks he is in the clear when he sees no cars following him, but helicopter patrols have kept him in sight.
Martin leaps aboard a cable car that travels over the highest point of the Grand Canyon…and he and O’Brien have a fistfight outside the car. The non-athletic O’Brien falls to his death, and Martin rescues and comforts Janice.
- Cornel Wilde as Deputy Les Martin
- Victoria Shaw as Janice Kendon
- Mickey Shaughnessy as Scotty O’Brien
- Edgar Buchanan as Sheriff Edwards
- Rian Garrick as Bob Kendon
- Jack Elam as Bill Ward
- Alexander Lockwood as Jim Kendon
- Dabbs Greer as Gas station attendant
- Tom Fadden as Eli
- Wendell Holmes as Sam Houghton
- Bernhard “Barney” Dehl police officer (uncredited)
- Hope Summers as Motel Owner(uncredited)
- Guy Way as Charlie Piper(uncredited)