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In 1865, just after the close of the Civil War, the U.S. Secret Service finds itself at war with Newton's Raiders, a band of cold-blooded killers smuggling guns to Emperor Maxmillian of Mexico. The outlaws operate just outside the U.S. border in Mexico, and when Ed Newton, their leader, kills Frank Baker, the Secret Service agent in charge of the case, Baker's lawyer son Mitch vows revenge. Despite the entreaties of the Secret Service chief to allow Marshal Steve Evans to bring Newton to justice, Mitch claims his father's gun and heads for the iniquitous border town of Mission, Texas to exact retribution. Upon arriving, Mitch visits Reverend Simmons, the self-proclaimed preacher who runs a mission for half-breed orphans and is the only man in town who was aware of Frank's objective. At the mission, Mitch watches Angelita, the reverend's sensuous ward, dance with lustful abandon. Concealing his identity, Mitch asks Simmons for a place to stay, and the reverend offers him the bed in which his father slept, and then warns him that the town is run by paid killers. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of gunfire. Hurrying to its source, Mitch and Simmons witness the new sheriff being gunned down by Newton's thugs. When Simmons dares the murderer to come forth, Cherokee, Newton's henchman, ridicules the preacher. After pulling Simmons from harm's way, Mitch draws his gun and orders them to stop the killings. Heartened by Mitch's valor, the mayor offers him the dead sheriff's badge, but Mitch rejects it. Soon after, the sound of gunshots rings out through the streets once more, and Mitch returns to the saloon to face down Cherokee and his men. When Mitch wounds Cherokee in the ensuing melee, the townsfolk think that the man they know only as "the young stranger" is a professional gunfighter. Enticed by Angelita, Mitch steals a kiss and calls her half-woman, half-angel, thus incurring Simmons' disapproval. During the Sunday service, Mitch sits outside the mission, cleaning his father's gun. After Mitch is injured in a skirmish with Cherokee, Angelita tenderly bandages his arm. To protect her reputation, Simmons asks Mitch to leave the mission. When Angelita breaks into tears at the thought of his departure, Mitch tries to comfort her and finally reveals his Christian name. Mitch moves into the dead sheriff's room at the hotel, and soon after, Marshal Evans rides into town. Evans, an old friend of Mitch's father, chastises him for taking the law into his own hands. Later, Evans tells Simmons about Mitch's true identity. Newton's spy, James Allan, a spineless sneak who has delusions of becoming a gunfighter, overhears their conversation and notifies Cherokee, who then rides across the border to summon Newton. That night, Evans reminds Mitch that his father wanted him to be a man of the law and not a man of the gun. The next day, as Newton rides toward town, Simmons pleads with Mitch to give up his quest for revenge. Defying propriety, Angelita visits Mitch in his hotel room, pledges her love and begs him to leave town before it is too late. As Newton and his men ride into town, Evans confronts them and arrests Newton for murder. In reply, Newton guns Evans down in cold blood. Before dying, Evans offers his badge to Mitch, who accepts it. After Newton disappears into the saloon, Mitch enters through the back door, brandishing his badge. As Newton is about to draw his gun, Mitch shoots and kills him, then drops his gun belt to embrace Angelita.