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In the late 1880's, an uneasy truce has been reached between the town of Antioch and Belle Starr, bandit queen of nearby Cherokee Flats. Belle has agreed to keep her men out of Antioch, while Antioch's marshal has agreed not to invade her territory. One night, the marshal is shot by Bob "Bitter Creek" Yauntis and his sidekick, Yuma, members of Belle's gang. After an angry Belle asks foreman Lafe Bailey who was responsible, suspicion falls on Bob and Yuma, who are up in the mountains with Belle's daughter Rose, whom Bob is courting. Belle instructs Rose's uncle, Jim Davis, to bring them all back, but when Belle accuses them of the killing, Bob and Yuma deny being in Antioch. Still believing them guilty, Belle decides to try to make a deal with Antioch's new marshal, Tom Jackson. Afterward, Bob shoots Belle and Davis, advising Yuma to keep his mouth shut about it and telling Bailey and the others that Belle and Davis have gone to get more men and want Bailey to attack the marshal. While the others proceed, Bailey doubles back to the ranch and discovers the bodies. Belle's men then engage in a gunfight fight with Tom and his posse. Bob and Yuma tell Rose that the posse has captured her mother and uncle, then ride off. Rose sees her home burning and the marshal and his men burying the bodies. Later, at a dance, Tom meets Rose for the first time and she treats him very coldly. U.S. Marshal Evans, who has been bringing in items recovered from the fire, including a locket containing a picture of Rose and her mother, is also looking for a bandit named Bitter Creek. After Evans deputizes Tom, Tom goes to see Rose at the restaurant where she works and shows her the locket. Although she admits to being Belle's daughter, she still believes that Tom and the posse killed her mother. Bob and Yuma then show up in Antioch, looking for Bailey, who they fear may reveal Bob's identity as Bitter Creek. At a saloon, Bailey, meanwhile, is getting drunk as Tom quizzes him about Bob and Yuma. Rose thinks that Bailey may know who killed Belle, so Bob tells her that he will make Bailey talk. When confronted, Bailey shoots at Bob, but misses and is killed. Later, a doctor tells Tom that with his last words Bailey identified Bob as Bitter Creek. As Bailey was shot by a gun similar to the one that killed Belle, Tom decides to go after Bob. Convinced of Tom's guilt, Rose joins Bob in several robberies. Tom and his deputy, Gaffer, track them to the town of Big Bend, an outlaw refuge. There, Bob asks Rose to marry him. While Tom and Gaffer interrogate the corrupt, local marshal, their horses are stolen, and Gaffer is injured in a shootout. Bob and the others escape and, while going through Tom's saddlebags, Bob finds one of Rose's hair ribbons. While Gaffer recovers, Tom, meanwhile, telegraphs for reinforcements. Soon signs are posted throughout the territory offering a substantial reward for the capture of Bob, Rose and the others. Tom is notified that the gang has been spotted and sets off after them. During an ensuing gunfight, Yuma is seriously wounded, but the gang keeps moving on with Tom not far behind them. After the gang comes upon a ranch house, they knock down the old resident and take fresh horses. Bob wants to abandon Yuma there, but Rose refuses to leave him and prevents Bob from killing him, getting knocked about in the process. The gang rides on and, later, Bob tells Rose not to try to get away. However, when he becomes drowsy, Rose manages to escape, returning to the ranch to care for Yuma, who finally confesses to her that Bob killed her mother and uncle. At daybreak, Bob and gang members Slim and Bronc chase after Rose, whose horse then throws her. Just before Bob and the others reach her, Tom comes to her rescue, shooting Slim and Bronc. After a chase, Tom catches Bob and tries to take him in for trial. Bob produces a concealed gun, however, and shoots Tom, who returns fire, killing the outlaw. Rose comes to help the slightly wounded marshal, who tells her that she may have to spend some time in jail, but that he will gladly wait for her.