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When a train stops at Soldier Springs, three passangers transfer to a stagecoach that will take them to the town of Bancroft. As the travelers, Molly Jones, the local sheriff's daughter, newspaper publisher Shelley Daggett and stranger Mike Ryan, near the end of their journey, two masked gunmen hold up the stage and take a strong box, as well as the passengers' valuables. During the robbery, the bandana of one of the gunmen slips off his face and the stage driver recognizes him as a fellow employee, Alex. After the stage leaves, Alex apologizes to his companion Velvet for allowing himself to be recognized. Velvet, concerned that they both might be identified, shoots and kills Alex, his first-time accomplice. In Bancroft, after Molly's father Tom greets his daughter, he is forced to deal with four cowboys from the Lazy Heart Ranch, who have come to town to cause trouble. When the men challenge Tom's authority and attempt to shoot him, Mike shoots one of them in the hand. Without revealing his reason for being in Bancroft, Mike moves into a local boardinghouse then visits a saloon where Velvet, who ostensibly is a reputable mine owner, gambles regularly. The next morning, Mike accompanies Tom when he rides out to the scene of the holdup and discovers Alex's body. Although Tom knows nothing of Mike's background, he offers him a job as a deputy and assigns him to collect taxes. At the Lazy Heart ranch, Mike tricks the owner, Gus Withers, into admitting that he has rustled some cattle and is, therefore, liable for a larger tax bill. Later, Velvet robs the Bancroft bank at night and hides the cash in a box of dynamite intended for his mining operation. When banker Irv Babcock, Daggett and saloon owner George Clark call for Tom's resignation and threaten to send for a special agent from the Wells, Fargo Co. to catch the robber, Tom pleads for more time as his pride will not allow him to concede defeat. Mike then reveals to them all that he is an express company agent, presents his previously concealed identification, but refuses to replace Tom, stating that they will work together. Later, Mike explains that he could not reveal his identity until he was sure that Tom was not involved in the robberies. Mike then begins to court Molly. Meanwhile, saloon girl Rosa informs Velvet that she has deduced that he is behind the robberies and blackmails him into leaving with her. When the Lazy Heart ranchhands are not paid, they wreck the ranch house and plan to rob a train. After Withers complains to Tom about the damage to his property, Tom rides to the ranch, but first visits Velvet's mine. When Tom see Velvet leave, he follows him and Velvet, thinking that the sheriff has uncovered his criminal activities, shoots and kills him. Velvet then watches as the Lazy Heart cowboys rob a train he had targeted, and after they remove the strongbox, he follows them as they head for the border. After Mike finds Tom's body, he tracks Velvet and the train robbers and, by using a short cut suggested by a local Mexican, arrives in the town of Clarksville ahead of them. When Mike interrupts a wedding ceremony to offer a thousand dollar reward for the capture of the train robbers, the justice of the peace, R. B. Davis, and a few witnesses abandon the ceremony to apprehend the outlaws. Believing that the robbers may now be headed in another direction, Mike rides on, but the cowboys arrive shortly after he leaves. Soon after Davis and his four friends ambush the cowboys, lock them up and take possession of the cash, Velvet arrives and, claiming to be an express company agent, demands that the cash be handed over to him. When Velvet learns that Mike is on his way back to town, he locks up Davis and his friends with the Lazy Heart gang, takes the cash and rides off. Mike pursues Velvet, who stops for food at a remote ranch, where a naïve young girl, whose parents are away, becomes infatuated with him. After Velvet tells her that a man is chasing him for a crime he did not commit, the girl gives him a fresh horse and he leaves. When Mike arrives at the ranch, the girl tries to stop him from going after Velvet, but he eventually convinces her that Velvet is a criminal. Mike continues his pursuit of Velvet until, in a final gunfight in the rocky heights of Gunsight Ridge, Mike shoots and kills him. Mike then returns to Molly and decides to settle down with her in Bancroft.