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During the Civil War, Union soldier "Mike" McComb is cashiered after he ignores his orders and burns one million dollars to keep it out of Confederate hands. Mike vows that in the future, he will follow only his own orders. His first act is to organize a squad of soldiers to clean out a crooked gambling organization that is located near his camp. He and his friend, "Pistol" Porter, then confiscate the gambling equipment for themselves and head for Silver City, Nevada, to open a saloon and gambling hall. Onboard the Missouri River boat that is taking them to St. Joseph, "Banjo" Sweeney tries unsuccessfully to commandeer the equipment and warns Mike that he will be waiting for him in Silver City. Learning that beautiful Georgia Moore has hired all the available wagons to carry new mining equipment to the Silver River mine that she runs with her husband Stanley, Mike challenges the wagons' owner, Sam Slade, to a poker game and wins the wagons. When Mike arrives in Silver City, the townspeople, warned by Sweeney and Georgia, try to turn him away, but Mike opens his saloon despite their wishes. Later, he hires alcoholic lawyer John Plato Beck, and agrees to lend Stanley the wagons to carry his mining equipment in exchange for a large share in the mine. Mike is in love with Georgia and tries unsuccessfully to come between her and her husband. Upon learning that Stanley does not have the money to finish his smelter, Mike then agrees to finance that in exchange for a third interest in the mine. When Sweeney urges the miners not to accept pay vouchers in lieu of cash, the mine owners demand that Mike suggest a solution. In exchange for shares in all the mines in the area, Mike sets up a bank which trades the vouchers for cash. Mike expands his saloons and banks throughout the state, eventually attracting the attention of President Ulysses S. Grant. Grant asks the miners to produce more silver so that the U.S. can become a creditor nation, and in response, Stanley suggests that they expand mining operations to the Black Rock range of mountains. Although Mike knows that the Shoshone Indians are on the war path, he says nothing to Stanley, even when Plato reminds him that King David once sent the husband of the woman he loved to his death in battle. After Stanley is killed by the Indians, Mike builds a castle on his property. When Georgia returns from San Francisco, where she went after her husband's death, Mike marries her. The couple gives a party to show the castle to the townspeople, and a drunken Plato breaks up the party with accusations against Mike. Their faith in Mike destroyed, the miners withdraw their money from his bank, and the other owners attempt to corner the silver market. In desperation, Mike shuts down all the mines, infuriating the public. Plato, meanwhile, decides to run for the Senate. Georgia begs Mike to call off the fight and reopen the mines, and when he refuses, she leaves him. Later, a run on the bank forces Mike to declare bankruptcy. The silver syndicate, headed by Sweeney, puts up a candidate to run against Plato, and to insure his victory, Sweeney kills Plato during a speech. Mike asks the crowd to avenge Plato's death and a battle ensues. When it is over, Mike prevents the crowd from lynching Sweeney and then makes a speech promising changes in Silver City. Afterward, an impressed Georgia reconciles with Mike.