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Barry Storm, the grandson of Jacob Walz, who in 1880 was the owner of the Lost Dutchman mine, surreptitiously follows Floyd Buckley as he searches for the mine in Arizona's Superstition Mountains. When Buckley is murdered by a sniper, Barry hikes back to town to report his death. The sheriff tells Barry that twenty-one men have been murdered while searching for the mine, and Buckley is the fourth to have been shot in the same area with the same gun. Barry knows that one hundred years earlier the Peralta brothers: Pedro, Ramon and Manuel, discovered the mine: After Ramon returns home, the other miners are attacked by an Apache. The brothers cover the entrance to the mine and attempt to escape, but are killed by the Indian. After he reflects on the past, Barry takes deputy sheriff Ray Covin to the place where Buckley was killed and then stays behind to continue his search for the mine. He accidentally stumbles on an ancient rifle, which he believes might have belonged to Walz. Sheriff Lynn Early sends Barry to an old folks home near Phoenix, and there, Mrs. Martha Bannister and Bill Bates tell Barry what they know about his grandfather: Walz encounters Ramon Peralta and Ludi, his American companion, in a small town near the Superstitions and, with his friend Wiser, follows them through the mountains. One night, Peralta and Ludi wait for moonlight to strike a certain spot, then start digging. Walz kills all the others and then fills his own pockets with gold. After Walz returns to town with the gold, Julia Thomas, who owns the bakery, becomes determined to get the gold and leave her fugitive husband Pete. Chance favors her plans when a drunken Walz collapses in front of her shop. She puts him to bed, and in the morning, pretends disinterest in his gold. When Walz learns that Julia speaks German, he begins to court her. No one dares to tell the quick-tempered Walz that Julia is already married, but Julia offers the information herself, explaining that she no longer loves her husband. After Walz offers to pay Pete to divorce her, he accidentally learns that Julia is not separated from Pete as she has told him, and becomes convinced that Julia is after his money like everyone else. Later, Walz gives Julia a map of the mine and asks her to meet him there. When Julia and Pete reach the mine, Walz hides their burros and supplies and watches from a hiding place as they grow weak from hunger and thirst. A desperate Julia kills Pete with a knife and begs Walz to help her. Walz shows her no sympathy, and later, an earthquake buries Julia and the mine. When Barry's research confirms some of the details of this story, he becomes convinced that he can discover the buried mine. Once again, he explores the Superstitions and finally locates one of the landmarks. Covin, who has been looking for the mine for twenty years, tries to shoot Barry, as he has the other treasure hunters. He then struggles with Barry, but falls to his death after he is bitten by a rattlesnake. Early, who suspected that Covin was the murderer, arrives, having followed Covin at a distance. Together, Barry and Early wait for the moon to rise, but quickly realize that unless they know the exact date on which the moonlight will hit the entrance to the mine, they will never find it.