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Swindlers Jay Jones and Foss Dunlap plot to strip the town of Wagon Wheel of its rich timberlands by promising to build a railroad in exchange for a twenty mile tract of land. To glorify their efforts in "furthering the progress of the West," the pair dupe unwitting newspaper reporter Anne Carr into covering their story. In Wagon Wheel, Anne meets Scott Baylor, a cattleman and the nephew of Henry Clay Baylor, the owner of the Wagon Wheel Clarion . When Uncle Henry pronounces that the railroad grant is legalized larceny, Jones arranges to take over the paper to silence his opposition. After stripping the initial tract of timber, Jones begins to pay drifters and loggers to claim additional lands under the Homestead Act and then sign their claims over to him. Discovering Jones's scheme, Scott informs Sheriff Lyman, who rides out to investigate. For his efforts, Lyman is murdered by Matt Chaflin, Jones's hired gun, who then takes over as sheriff. Meanwhile, Anne, now the editor of the Clarion , refuses to believe Scott's accusations against Jones. To obtain proof, Scott and his sidekick, Whopper Hatch, pose as homesteaders and snap Jones's picture just as he is about to pay them off for their claim. Scott then presents the evidence to Anne, and as they rush to print the story, Chaflin forms a posse to arrest Scott for the murder of Sheriff Lyman. As Scott shoots it out with the possee at the newspaper office, Whopper rounds up the ranch hands and rides to rescue Scott before he runs out of ammunition. After a final shootout with Chaflin, Scott captures Jones and Dunlap and restores peace to the territory.