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Blake Cantrell, a Maryland aristocrat and well-bred cad, uses the occasion of his hunt to announce his impending bankruptcy. In order to pay his debts, Blake is forced to sell his slaves, thus incurring the disapproval of his house guest, Northerner Susan Griffith. Later, when Blake tries to seduce Susan, she denounces him and leaves for the Cumberland Gap with her Aunt Amanda, who owns the Bullet Stage Line there. In Cumberland, Susan meets Captain Starkey, an old friend of Amanda and manager of the Bullet Line. To keep the line solvent, Starkey has been renting stages to Arnold, who claims to be transporting fugitive slaves to freedom. Soon afterwards, Blake arrives in Cumberland to ask Colonel Webb, the construction head of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and an old friend of his father, for a job. Webb, who is in competition with the Bullet Line, offers Blake a job spying on Starkey, but Blake refuses. Later that night, Blake meets Starkey in a drunken brawl and Starkey, short-handed since his men have quit in order to work on the railroad, frames Blake, has him thrown in jail and then arranges for him to work off his fine on the stage line. Hard, honest work makes Blake a new man, and he and Susan are about to begin a romance when Blake sees his old slave Enoch gunned down while trying to escape from Arnold's clutches. Realizing that Starkey is involved in slave running, Blake quits the line and accepts Webb's offer. Hoping to expose Morgan, the brains behind the slave racket, Blake pretends to be a highwayman and infiltrates the gang. When a routine shipment turns into a slave massacre, Blake rides off to file charges against the stage line and Arnold, who is really Morgan. Because he is missing a crucial piece of incriminating evidence, Blake rides back to the scene of the massacre, where he comes into conflict with Arnold and Starkey, who has escaped from jail. In the ensuing shootout, Arnold dies, and Blake and Starkey survive to brave a life threatening snowstorm. During the storm, the two men come to understand each other, and when they are finally rescued, Blake conceals the incriminating evidence. After Susan sells the stage line to Starkey, she joins Blake as he goes West to open up the territory to the railroad.