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In California, as the spring of 1939 approaches, Warden Cramer of the state penitentiary offers discharged prisoner Charlie Dakin the address of his brother and he suggests that Charlie look for honest work at his brother's ranch in Billings, Montana. Outside the prison, Charlie meets his partner, Ernie Coons, and they leave the prison. They are followed by Max Giorgio and Carl Spitz, men Charlie cheated just before going to prison. Max and Carl follow Charlie to the county recorder's office, where a clerk named J. H. Higgins files a claim to the abandoned Durango Mine. At the mine, Charlie and Ernie meet a Mexican peasant girl named Raquel Chavez from the nearby village of San Gabriel. Later, Charlie retrieves the bags of stolen gold dust which he had hidden in the mine before going to prison. Having guessed that Charlie and Ernie have hidden gold inside the mine, Higgins arrives and asks for half of their profit in exchange for help in registering the gold as authentically from the earth. Because they have no other choice, Charlie and Ernie agree to the deal. At San Gabriel, Charlie asks a villager, Ysidro Alvarez, for a table in exchange for an hour's worth of panning for gold in the mine. When Ysidro discovers the gold, the townspeople think that the ghost of a three-hundred-year-old woman known as "the blue lady" has created a miracle by making gold appear in the mine. At the mine, Max and Carl are forced to let Charlie and Ernie go when the townspeople suddenly arrive at the cabin with their mining gear. Some time later, after all the gold has been mined, Higgins arrives demanding his share. He suggests that Max kill Charlie and Ernie in order to increase their own profit. Later, Higgins gives Ernie his pistol and tells him that Max is planning to kill them. As Charlie prepares to leave San Gabriel the next day, Raquel begs him to take her with him. Meanwhile, Raquel's father, Dr. Esteban Chavez, treats the villagers, who have contracted typhus from the ground water which had been tainted by mining activities. Charlie visits each of the sick villagers and describes a vision of the blue lady, which miraculously cures them of the disease. Despite his efforts, Charlie feels guilty for inadvertently poisoning the villagers and asks Dr. Chavez to bring the sheriff to the mine. When Higgins demands his share of the money, Max shoots and kills him. Charlie borrows Dr. Chavez's gun for protection and arrives at the mine in time to see both Max and Ernie killed in the shootout. When the sheriff arrives moments later, Charlie turns over the money, asking that it go toward the betterment of San Gabriel. The sheriff arrests Charlie, who promises to return for Raquel.