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Benjie Galt, the son of Sheriff Sam Galt, is in the Ellsworth, South Dakota, jail accused of a stage holdup and the murder of the stage's driver. On his death bed, Eugene Walden, father of Benjie's girl friend Kathi, recants testimony about the holdup he previously gave to Sam and now tells him that he saw Benjie kill the driver. Phil Quincy, the local newspaper publisher and Sam's rival for the affections of his lady friend Claire, demands to know what Walden told Sam, but Sam withholds the information. As Benjie's trial is scheduled to begin the next day, Sam has sent for a prominent lawyer, Roger Pollock, and also attempts to hire a private range detective named Sutherland to help prove Benjie's innocence, but discovers that he cannot afford Sutherland's fee. After Sam receives a telegram advising him that the stolen money consisted of newly minted, silver coins, he visits the recently arrived Pollock at his hotel to tell him what Walden said, but the lawyer prefers not to know and advises Sam to refrain from testifying as he feels he can free Benjie. Shortly after Charley, a Chinese laundryman, reports that his store was robbed during the night, a marshal, Ellison, sent by the governor at Quincy's request, arrives in town to help keep order. To Sam's surprise, Sutherland suddenly agrees to help him and goes to scout the scene of the holdup. When Benjie's trial begins, Walden's earlier statement that he could not identify the gunman is read into the record. During the trial, Sorenson, the local bank manager brings Sam one of the silver coins from the robbery and discloses that it was part of a deposit from the casino. An employee at the casino then tells Sam that he received the coin from Sutherland. In the courtroom, Pollock states that, as Walden hated Benjie, his future son-in-law, he would have had no reason to defend him. Pollock then puts Kathi on the witness stand and begins to ask about her relationship with Benjie. Meanwhile, Sam finds Sutherland, who tells him the coin was among many given to him by a young friend of Benjie, Jackson Gallaher, who hired him to help Benjie. In the courtroom, Benjie testifies that he hopes to marry Kathi and that their relationship has been chaste, although her father believed Benjie had seduced her. After Sam learns from Gallaher that he acquired the money to pay Sutherland by robbing the laundryman, Charley remembers that he received the coin from Benjie. Although Claire, the daughter of a deputy sheriff killed in the line of duty, begs Sam not to testify against his son, Sam tells the court that Walden told him privately that he saw Benjie shoot the driver. The district prosecutor rests his case and, later, when Sam attempts to explain to an inebriated Pollock why he testified against Benji, Pollock tells him that he is a fool. The jury returns a guilty verdict and Benjie is sentenced to be hanged the next day. Pollock suddenly realizes that Benjie, who has not explained how he got the coin, may be trying to protect Kathi and surmises that her sick father may have given him the coin to run an errand. Sam and the others then go to Kathi's house, open her hope chest, and find all the coins from the robbery. Sutherland believes that after Walden robbed the stage, it was ambushed by a gunman, around a bend a few hundreds yards further on, who then killed the driver. Claire asks Quincy for help and he suggests that the killer was someone who knew the stage's schedule, possibly Leveret, the town's telegraph operator. After receiving confirmation of Leveret's knowledge about the schedule from the stage company's manager, Sam and Ellison try to find Leveret, but his sister tells them that he has gone to see their brother in another town. When Sam decides to ambush Leveret, Ellison, fearing that Sam intends to kill him, tries to stop him, but Sam knocks him out, ties him to his horse and sends him back to town. Sam eventually finds Leveret and chases him on foot into a rocky area where Leveret pleads for his life. Sam takes Leveret prisoner and upon returning to town, Leveret confesses to killing the stage driver. Benjie is then freed and reunites with Kathi, Sam and Claire.