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Cole Clinton, the leading citizen of Durango, New Mexico, is brutally murdered, and young attorney David Mitchell is appointed by the court to defend suspect Ben Brown. Although he initially believes that Brown is guilty, Mitchell begins to have doubts about the written confession authorities have obtained because it seriously conflicts with the story Brown personally tells; Mitchell's only encouragement, however, comes from retired attorney Art Harper and his daughter, Susan. When the politically ambitious special prosecutor, Norris Bixby, refuses to call several important witnesses, including Brown's voluptuous wife, Laura Mae, Mitchell becomes convinced that his client is being railroaded. With Harper's subtle guidance, Mitchell stumbles upon the truth--that Brown shot Clinton after discovering him in bed with Laura Mae. The prosecution, in trying to protect the dead man's reputation, brings pressure to bear on Mitchell to abandon this line of defense, but the unwritten law dealing with adultery sways the jury to bring in a verdict of "not guilty." Meanwhile, Harper is pleased that his future son-in-law has proven himself to be an honest lawyer.