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When Kip Tanner arrives at the outskirts of Abilene, Texas, he is attacked by three ranchers, Harker, Rigley and Hendricks, who accuse him of being in cahoots with his brother Gene, who stole the proceeds from the sale of a large herd of cattle. After protesting that he has not seen his brother in many years, Kip is rescued when Marshal Wilkinson rides up and the ranchers leave. Wilkinson explains that Gene convinced a number of small ranchers to pool their cattle into one big herd, and after selling the herd, Gene disappeared with the proceeds. Kip, a professional gunfighter, tells the marshal that he intends to find Gene and clear his name, even though there is enmity between them because of Kip's violent background. Local land baron Seth Hainline, enraged by Gene's success in organizing the ranchers against him, sends his son Jud and henchman Marty Ruger to Kip's hotel room to steal a letter from Gene written before the cattle drive, in which Gene had asked for Kip's help in battling the Hainlines. Kip moves into Gene's ranch house and resists the Hainlines' attempts to drive him out. When Kip visits Seth's daughter Alice, who hopes to marry Gene despite her father's disapproval, she tells him that she believes that Gene is innocent, and informs Kip that stagecoach driver Andy Ferris stated that the money was stolen during a stagecoach robbery. Kip asks Ferris to meet him in his hotel room, but before Kip can return there, Ferris is shot and killed by Jud, who then claims that Kip murdered Ferris because he was the only witness against Gene. As Wilkinson jails Kip, Raquel Torena, a desk clerk in the hotel, informs her father Miguel, who works for Seth, that she knows Kip is innocent. Seth organizes a lynch mob to kill Kip, but before the mob can act, four masked men break into the marshal's office and ride off with Kip. Meanwhile, Alice is horrified to learn that her father has sanctioned the lynching. Kip's abductors take him to a cabin where Raquel is waiting and reveal themselves as Miguel, Harper, Rigley and Hendricks. Raquel then tells Kip about a lynching she witnessed while returning home one dark night: After three masked men hang a fourth from a tree and leave with the body, Raquel recovers a pocket knife that fell from the dead man's hand. Raquel then shows the knife to Kip, who recognizes it as a childhood gift to his brother. Believing that Seth was responsible for Gene's death, Kip persuades the ranchers, who fear being driven off their land, to blackmail Seth into cooperating wtih them by convincing him that they can prove his involvement in Gene's death. Later, Raquel takes Kip to the area of the lynching and, in a nearby ravine, Kip finds Gene's body. When Kip encounters Alice out riding, he tells her about Gene's death and his conviction that her father and brother were responsible for the hanging. Although Alice does not want to believe him, Kip persuades her to inform Seth that he can prove his role in Gene's death and that they should meet at ten p.m. at Gene's ranch. Meanwhile, Jud, who has been ordered by Seth to find and kill Kip, goes to Gene's ranch and prepares to ambush Kip. Just before Kip returns, Seth rides up, sees a shadowy figure in the house and, assuming it is Kip, shoots and rides off, not realizing he has just killed his son. Seth returns home to find Alice, who accuses him of killing Gene and Kip, then informs him she plans to leave the next afternoon. In the morning, Kip takes Jud's body to the Hainline ranch, where both Alice and Seth are astonished to see him alive. After Kip informs Seth that he shot his own son, he tells the devastated old man that he is going to hand him over to the marshal. However, Ruger and another henchman enter with guns drawn and in the ensuing fight, Kip escapes and rides off, with Seth and his men in pursuit. On the trail, Kip encounters Wilkinson and the three ranchers, who have headed to the ranch after hearing of trouble there, and tells them that Alice will confirm her family's guilt in the deaths of Gene and Ferris. When Seth and the others ride up, a gunfight breaks out. Seth is wounded and returns to his ranch, where he collapses and dies. Kip then informs Wilkinson that he intends to hang up his guns, settle down on Gene's ranch and perhaps marry Alice.