Life on the Pennington ranch is hard but removed from the problems of the big city. Unfortunately the problems are coming to the ranch. Custer the son has a drinking problem and his best friend Guy Evans is involved in smuggling bootleg whiskey. Guy is an aspiring writer that wants to marry Custer’s sister Eva. He needs money so that is why he turns to the bootlegging operation.
While this is happening a young actress Shannon Burke gets the news that her mother has died and she must dispose of some property in the country. Shannon had high hopes when she came to Hollywood but was tricked by a sleazy producer onto cocaine and now sells drugs for him. While visiting the ranch Shannon is taken in by the Pennington’s. She finds the life in the country peaceful and kicks the drug habit and falls in love with Custer.
It all comes crashing down when the sleazy producer comes out to make a movie. Guy’s partners in the bootleg business frame Custer for murder of the producer. Shannon’s secret is exposed and Custer is arrested.
Wow drug use in Hollywood. Sleazy producers getting young impressionable girls hooked on drugs. Its so great that in the last eighty years the entertainment industry has been able to clean up its image. This is not your typical Burroughs story. The male lead is an alcoholic and the female lead is a drug addict. Not what you’d expect to find in one of his stories. The story is set in the real contemporary world of his time with none of the fantastical elements.
I give him a lot of credit for going out of his comfort zone to try something new. I’m sure he had some exposure to Hollywood from the Tarzan movies that were made. The story except for the prohibition bootlegging subplot is as relevant today as it was eighty years ago. It has mystery, courtroom drama, and fair amount of action.