powered by AFI
At a border town, stagecoach guard Tom Folliard is released from jail after serving time for consorting with criminals. When his brother, "Trigger" Bill, offers him a cut from a robbery, Tom says he wants nothing more to do with him, then tries to get his old job back. His boss decides instead to offer him a manager's post at the worst station on the line, Tonto Valley, in Apache territory. Tom is happy for the chance, and takes the next stage out. At the station, he is greeted by cook Señora Martinez and her daughter Rosalia, who is secretly in love with Tom. They are happy to have Tom as their new boss and, along with teenaged Indian Cochee, resolve to make Tonto Valley the best station on the line. Some weeks later, on the day that a coach carrying artist James V. Thorne and his wife and attractive, opportunistic widow Constance Selden arrives, distant smoke signals and Apache war drums concern Tom. That afternoon, U.S. Cavalry Major Lowden arrives to pick up supplies, and a short time later, Bill rides in, causing the wary Tom to lock up the company strongbox and confiscate Bill's guns. The next morning, when an Apache arrow is shot into the station, Tom rides out to investigate and gives the strongbox key to the stagecoach drivers. While Tom is gone, Constance indicates to Señora Martinez and Rosalia that she plans to marry him, even though Bill tells her that he is more her kind than Tom's. Despite the danger of an impending Apache attack, the major leaves for his fort and promises to send help. Out in the hills, Tom sees an Apache war party pulling a white man after them. He is able to free the wounded man, whose name is "Pike" Skelton, when the Apaches dismount to investigate a shot he fired. As they ride back to the station, Pike tells Tom that the Apaches are on the warpath because of an underhanded white man. Back at the station, Thorne paints a portrait of Cochee, then, on Bill's suggestion, paints him as well. When Bill says that the picture would be better with his guns, Thorne innocently gives him his, and Bill forces the other men to hand over the strongbox and all the weapons. He starts to ride off, forcing Constance to go with him, but when Cochee opens the station gates, Tom and Pike are there. Bill goads Tom into a gunfight and is shocked that Tom is able to outdraw him. Tom merely wounds Bill's hands, and while Bill and Pike are being treated, Pike reveals details about the white man whom the Apaches are seeking, and Bill is revealed to be the man. Later that night, when Constance tells Tom that she wants to spend the rest of her life with him, he kisses her, breaking Rosalia's heart. The next morning, the Apaches attack the station and Cochee is killed saving Tom's life. Mr. Thorne is also killed, after which a lone Apache rides to the station to warn that they must surrender Bill or be killed. When the Apache throws down the major's hat, they realize that the cavalry will not be coming. Tom insists that they vote on Bill's fate, and Tom breaks a tie by voting to save him. As they prepare for the next attack, Rosalia confesses her love to Tom, then Bill chides his brother for saving him, while secretly admiring him. As the station is surrounded, Bill steals a horse and rides off, leading the Apaches away from Tonto Valley. The next day, Constance takes the stage out, but Señora Martinez and Rosalia stay when Tom asks for Rosalia's hand.