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After a prologue unfolding the history of the Navajo in the West, the story is told of Nophaie, a strong, righteous Indian, who thrashes Booker, an evil Indian agent, for attempting to force his attentions on Marion Warner, the white schoolteacher with whom Nophaie is in love. Nophaie flees into the hills in order to escape Booker's vengeance and returns only to persuade his people to give over their horses to Earl Ramsdale, an Army procurement agent needing horses for the war. Nophaie enlists and saves Ramsdale's life during the fighting, learning then that Ramsdale is in love with Marion. After the war Nophaie returns to his people and finds that they are living in squalor. The Indians go on the warpath, and Nophaie rides to warn the whites. Nophaie and Booker die in the fighting, and Nophaie's only comfort is to die in the arms of Marion.