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After the Yankees confiscate his land at the end of the Civil War, Jefferson Todd, a young Southerner, takes up gambling on a Mississippi riverboat. During a card game, Jefferson wins four race horses, the last possessions of Colonel Brereton. Crushed by the loss, the colonel drowns himself later that night. News of her father's death reaches Barbara Brereton at the family home, which she is now about to lose. Todd goes there, full of remorse, only to find himself preceeded by his unscrupulous brother-in-law, Louis Castiga, who has poisoned Barbara's mind against him. Barbara, who is now penniless, decides to seek her fortune in the West, where the government is offering free land. Todd and Castiga also go West, and learning of valuable oil deposits on a certain parcel of land, all three race to make the claim. Todd and Barbara, riding the colonel's race horses, win, but are met by Castiga and his men who have occupied the territory illegally. A fight ensues between Castiga and Todd, terminating in Castiga's death. Barbara finally realizes her misjudgement of Todd, and the two stake their claim and their lives together.