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After a fugitive gunfighter known as Choya narrowly escapes capture, he is tracked to his mountain encampment by wandering cowboys Leffingwell and "Tattoo," who have actually followed him across several states. Lef tells Choya that he has a proposition which would net them wealth and a ranch, and in order to assure the plot's success, Tattoo brands a tattoo on Choya's shoulder. When they ride out for supplies, however, Lef shoots Tattoo in the back so that he and Choya will not have to divide their profits three ways. Lef and Choya split up when they arrive at Richard Lavery's Bar M Ranch. Choya asks the foreman, Ransome, for work as a ranchhand, but Ransome refuses to hire the gunfighter, so Choya knocks him down. When Lavery and his daughter Ruth ride up, Ruth sees that Ransome's pride was hurt, and urges him to hire Choya because they need more ranchhands. Later that night, Choya encounters Ruth in the courtyard, and she tells him about her long-lost brother who was kidnapped when he was five years old. Although her father offered a $100,000 reward, the boy was never seen again. Ruth is friendly toward Choya, but Lavery comes along and warns Choya to stay in his place. The next day, Choya overhears the ranchhands talking about the fact that Lavery does not like anyone but him to break a horse. Without hesitation, Choya jumps into the ring and rides a new horse to break it. An angry Lavery sees him and tells him to get off the ranch. When Choya responds insolently, the two get into a fistfight, but Lavery stops suddenly when he sees the tattoo on Choya's shoulder, which matches his lost son's birthmark. When Lavery learns that Choya has no family, he believes that he may be his son. Choya denies the possibility, and maintains an attitude of disinterest, following the plan that he and Lef have devised, so that he can inherit the ranch. When Lavery presents Choya to his wife, Choya pretends to recall a childhood rocking-horse with a missing front leg, information given to him by Lef, and the Laverys believe that he is indeed their son. Choya is now warmly welcomed into the family as Richard, Jr., but becomes uncomfortable with the responsibility of lying to them. Just as he is about to tell Lavery the truth, Lef reappears and is hired as a ranchhand. Choya prevents Lef from killing Lavery so that he can obtain the inheritance immediately, and insists that they take only the money they will get from selling the cattle, and then disappear. Choya heads the cattle drive, and Ruth rides along. When they arrive in El Paso, Choya has a change of heart and deposits the check into the Lavery bank account. When a friendly sheriff tells Choya he initially tracked the kidnappers all the way to New Orleans, Lef's former home, Choya realizes that Lef was the kidnapper. In a hotel room, Choya plays Russian roulette with Lef until he confesses that after kidnapping the boy, he lost him to notorious Mexican bandit Mateo Rubriz, who adopted him as his own son. Choya warns Lef to stay away from the Laverys, then tells Ruth the truth about himself and leaves. Ruth returns home with the bad news, and for his wife's sake, Lavery vows to find Choya and force him to live as their son. Choya, meanwhile, has found their real son, who has been living as Rubriz' son Tonio and is shocked to learn of his true heritage. However, Lef arrives shortly after and Rubriz takes Choya hostage. Although Tonio is devoted to his father, he frees Choya, who kidnaps him. Tonio is wounded during their escape, and Rubriz goes out with his gang to recover him. The fugitives narrowly escape capture, and Tonio agrees to go willingly when he is convinced of Choya's good intentions. That night, they steal two horses from Rubriz's camp and escape, and Lef is killed in a stampede while trying to stop them. Tonio helps Choya outwit the gang at the Rio Grande River, but he and Choya collapse on the other side, and are rescued by Lavery and Ransome. Rubriz tracks them to the ranch and holds Choya hostage as Tonio recuperates in bed. After several tense minutes, Choya convinces Rubriz that Tonio is still loyal to his adoptive father, and Rubriz calls off his gang. The Laverys are reunited with their son, agreeing that he will see Rubriz as he pleases. Choya tries to slip away unnoticed, but Ruth follows him and pledges her love.