Hell Bent for Leather is a standard western that features Audie Murphy in the role of Clay, a cowboy hunted by a posse out for blood. Clay deals and trade in horses in an honest way, and he does not suspect that a crooked U.S. Marshal (Stephen McNally) interested in furthering his career, is determined to nab him as a killer though he knows full well Clay is innocent. When first attacked, Clay grabs a hostage (Felicia Farr) who eventually sides with him and helps him in the long chase that follows. Clay's challenge is not only to get away from the Marshal and his posse but to somehow prove his innocence as well. Murphy, the most decorated soldier in World War II was still riding the popularity of his own real-life story in 1955's To Hell and Back when this western was released.
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Clay Santell (Audie Murphy) an honest horse trader stops in the town of Sutterville after having a horse stolen. He is mistaken by townspeople for a notorious murderer named Travers. The townspeople capture Clay and turn him over to lawman Harry Deckett (Stephen McNally).
The egotistical and crooked Marshall Deckett, tired of chasing the real Travers, is out to gain personal glory even if it means capturing and punishing the wrong man.
Clay escapes from Deckett, taking the lovely Janet Gifford (Felicia Farr) hostage in the process. Janet comes to believe his story and helps him in his struggle to prove his real identity.
Will Clay get away from the corrupt and self-serving Marshall Deckett? Will Clay be able to prove his innocence?