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Blaine Madden, an outlaw who runs the town of Sanctuary, a haven for criminals, visits his own hometown and there comes to the aid of a young man named Roan who has been attacked by two brothers. The brothers plan to kill Madden, but the town drunkard, Madden's father, is accidentally killed instead. Against the advice of the sheriff, an old friend of his, Madden pursues the killers. He shoots them down but in turn is wounded by the sheriff, who objects to Madden's taking the law into his own hands. Roan helps Madden get back to Sanctuary, and there the people protect him by preventing the sheriff from entering the town. Blood poisoning develops in Madden's wound. He has become fond of Roan, and, knowing he is dying and concerned lest Roan pattern his life after his own, Madden forces the young man to kill him in a gun duel. Roan is then obliged to leave Sanctuary because of an unwritten law forbidding killing among its outlaw citizens. He is taken into custody by the sheriff, who has been waiting on the town's outskirts, and is told that Madden, though an outlaw, was a good lawman because he kept Sanctuary free of crime.