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Steve Brewster, an idealistic young man, enters the campaign for mayor of Cascade in hopes of restoring the legacy of law and order established by his late father, the former town marshal. Vince Branton, the current mayor, abetted by his pawn, the town marshal, has turned Cascade into a haven for outlaws who frequent Branton's saloon and thus fill his coffers with money. To discredit Steve, Branton schemes with his wife Emily to frame him for rape. Pretending that she is desperately in need of help, Emily begs Steve to come to her hotel room that night, and after he arrives, she screams rape. Branton and his thugs then seize Steve and after brutally whipping him, Branton threatens to kill Steve unless he leaves town by noon the next day. As noon approaches, Branton stalks the street in search of Steve who, with his accurate aim, guns down both Branton and the marshal. Branton's vengeful thugs, led by his brother Walt, pursue Steve into the mountains, but he eludes them by climbing to the other side. There, he encounters Susan Hammer, who peppers him with questions. When Steve collapses from his whip wounds, Susan takes him home to the hideout of her father, the notorious outlaw, Henry Harrison Hammer. Although Steve claims that he is a fugitive, Hammer fears that he may be a bounty hunter and convenes his men to vote on Steve's fate. Rick Valentine, Hammer's cocky second-in-command, openly doubts Rick's story and so Hammer sends Sammy Fielding, one of the gang, to Cascade to verify Steve's story. Steve incurs Rick's resentment when he uses his uncanny accuracy to best him in target practice. Soon after, Sammy returns from Cascade to report that Emily has offered a $1,000 reward for Steve's dead body and that she and Walt are now running the town. Although he believes Steve's story, Hammer refuses to allow him to leave and gives him an ultimatum: join the gang or die. Steve throws in with Hammer, but after his first robbery, accuses Rick of shooting a bank teller in the back. Steve and Susan soon fall in love, but when Steve asks Susan to marry him, she insists on staying with her father. Steve finally prevails upon her to leave with him, but he is captured during a bank robbery before they can elope. The town sheriff jails Steve and offers him clemency if he divulges the location of Hammer's hideout. After Steve refuses to betray his friend, the sheriff decides to extradite him to Cascade to stand trial for murder. When two bounty hunters arrive to take Steve back, however, Steve recognizes his old friends Doc and Jake, who are posing as bounty hunters in order to get Steve released into their custody. Once outside of town, they explain that the governor has offered Steve a pardon if he will agree to become the new marshal of Cascade. Steve accepts on the condition that he will not arrest Hammer unless he attempts to operate in Cascade, and then asks for a two-day grace period before reporting to duty. Back at to the hideout, Steve informs Hammer that he has been appointed marshal of Cascade and asks him to stay out of town. Reacting vehemently to the news, Susan declares that she will never marry a man of the law and asks Steve to leave. As his first act as marshal, Steve prohibits wearing guns in town and then warns all the outlaws to leave Cascade or face imprisonment. After the outlaws leave in a mass exodus, Steve feels that his job is done and plans to resign his post. Before he can depart, however, the cavalry appears with Hammer in custody and asks Steve to jail him while they pursue Rick, who has eluded them. After deciding to return to Susan, Steve unlocks Hammer's cell and gives him a gun and a horse. Just as Steve rides out of town, Rick comes into the saloon, and Emily introduces herself as the woman offering the reward for Steve's dead body. Realizing that Steve has gone to join Susan, Emily proposes that they ride there and kill him, and when Walt protests that he wants the reward, Rick guns him down. Hammer watches as Rick and Emily ride out of town and follows them. At the hideout, Susan runs into Steve's arms and begs his forgiveness. Just then, Emily and Rick appear and Emily pulls out her gun and insists on killing Steve herself. Sneaking up behind them, Hammer orders Emily to drop her gun, and when she turns and shoots him, he returns fire and hits her. Rick and Steve then face off, and although Rick fires first, Steve kills him with his accurate aim. Before dying, Hammer hands Steve the marshal's badge and tells Susan to make sure that he wears it. Susan lovingly pins the badge on Steve and then kisses him.