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When John Mount of San Jacinto sends word to Marshal Bill Carson of Bluegap, Texas, requesting help to fight a group of bandits, "Breed" Hawkins intercepts the note and attempts to kill Bill. Bill runs Hawkins and his accomplice, Pecos Kid, out of town, however, then resigns as marshal to go after them. Hawkins returns to San Jacinto with the false message that Bill has refused to help Mount. Hotel proprietor Stack Stone schemes with Hawkins to rob a stagecoach and hires Pecos to help them. Pecos, however, reveals half of Mount's missing note to "Silent" Tom Rand, whom no one knows is really his brother, and tries to get out of town. While the sheriff and his deputy, Sam Bates, await the arrival of the stage coach, Hawkins' men ambush it. While Pecos lays low at Hawkins' hideout, Hawkins knocks him out. Pecos revives to see Hawkins murder Bates and flees to Tom's house. Bill sees Pecos jump out the window, and then finds Bates dead with an ace of spades in his hand. When he finds the fragment of Mount's letter and a deck of cards with a missing ace at Tom's house, Bill arrests Pecos, and tells Tom he knows they are brothers. Bill then tells Stack he has arrested Hawkins, forcing him to implicate Hawkins in Bates's murder. However, the sheriff, anxious to avenge Bates's murder, hangs Pecos, who drops the ace of spades as he dies. Tom, then vows revenge and he kills nearly every member of the posse, including the sheriff, leaving a card on each corpse. Certain the cards belonged to Pecos' deck, Bill names Tom the murderer, but the remaining posse members, overwhelmed with guilt at having put Pecos to death, now refuse to arrest Tom. Bill meets with Tom, who had saved the high card for him. Tom finally realizes that vengeance is the responsibility of God and challenges Bill to a duel with an empty gun and is killed.