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A western settlement of pioneer descendants is threatened with the loss of its water supply through the encroachments of nearby townspeople. Rancher John Ballard leads the settlers in their fight against a self-appointed committee consisting of corrupt politician John Murdock and his brother, a crooked sheriff, who are determined to acquire the water rights by force. Arrested when a rancher shot by Murdock dies, Ballard is temporarily banished. He returns, extracts a confession from Murdock, then shoots him when he tries to escape. After the ranchers have won back their water rights, a well-meaning mayor convinces them of the town's needs, offering to pay for the land. The ranchers sacrifice their homes and move on by covered-wagon train.