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In a small Western town, young women are dying from a mysterious illness, and although Dr. John Carter cannot discern the cause, Preacher Dan Young notes that each girl bears two puncture wounds on her neck. At John and his daughter Dolores' home, John's son Tim informs them that rival rancher Buffer has blocked the waterway and threatened to fight Tim. John calms Tim and confronts the sheriff, who promises to help but is in reality powerless against Buffer and his cronies. In the saloon later, Buffer mocks the sheriff, but then refuses to fight him. When John returns home, he is near death, Tim blames Buffer even though no one can discover any injuries. John soon dies, after which Dan knocks out Tim in order to keep him from trying to kill Buffer. Before the funeral, Dan sees marks on John's neck, but fails to notice later when stranger Drake Robey remains in the church and climbs into John's casket to sleep. Days later, Tim learns that someone has been tampering with the ranch fences and, sure Buffer is once again guilty, drinks all night at the saloon to work up his courage. The sheriff tries to convince Tim of Buffer's innocence in John's death by informing him that Buffer was at the saloon when John was killed, but Tim insists on taunting Buffer, who finally kills him. In her anguish, Dolores posts signs offering a reward for Buffer's death, and although Dan, who is her boyfriend, and the sheriff tear down the signs and try to dissuade her, Drake takes one of the signs into the saloon. Buffer sees Drake with the sign and grows nervous, but when Buffer's men shoot at Drake, the bullets do not harm him, and he warns Buffer to stay on guard. Drake then goes to Dolores' house, where Dan is visiting, and comments on a pin that Dan is wearing, which bears a cross carved from a thorn found at the site of Christ's crucifixion. Against Dan's advice, Dolores invites Drake to stay at her house. That night, Drake visits Dolores while she sleeps, but although he bends over her neck, he forces himself to pull away and sleep in the coffin in the church. The next day, Buffer demands that the sheriff protect him against Dolores' hired killer, and though Dan blames Buffer for the town's woes, he agrees that they must try to keep peace. To that end, Dan convinces Buffer to remain inside the boundaries of his ranch and pay reparations for any problems on the Carter ranch. Dan visits Dolores in the morning to relay the news, and finds her dreamily confused. That night, Dolores kisses Dan, but after he leaves, Drake arrives and asks for a job guarding the ranch at night, as daylight hurts his eyes. Dolores, mesmerized by Drake's presence, agrees. Later, Dan discovers a diary among John's papers, describing events from 1860: Rancher Don Miguel's son Drago Robles returns from Spain to discover that his brother Roberto has seduced Drago's beloved, Isabella. Drago kills Roberto in a jealous rage and then, overcome with grief, stabs himself. Soon after, young girls in town begin dying, supposedly the result of a mysterious curse. One night, Don Miguel hears Isabella scream and discovers Drago, alive and leaning over Isabella's neck. Realizing Drago is a vampire, Don Miguel stabs his son but, not having a wooden stake with which to perform the deed, fails to kill him. With the diary is a photo of Drago, whom Dan recognizes as Drake. In the middle of the night, Drake once again mesmerizes Dolores and kisses her on the porch, but runs off when he hears the sheriff approaching the house. The sheriff then rouses Dolores and insists that Drake be fired, but Dolores refuses. Drake, who has overheard the sheriff, follows him to town and kills him, attracting the attention of Dan. Dan sees the bites on the sheriff's neck and chases Drake, who traps Dan in his office and there sees the photo of Drago. Realizing Dan knows the truth, Drake confesses to the recent murders and vows he will have Dolores, whom he loves. Dan states that his faith strengthens him, but Drake declares that his ability to deceive will make him the victor. The rivals fight, separating only when neighbors intervene. The next night, Dan tries to convince Dolores of Drake's guilt, and to this end drags her to the church and insists that she look inside John's casket. Horrified at the suggestion, Dolores collapses and Dan carries her home. Over the next few nights, she grows increasingly cold and sleepy as Drake continues to visit in secret. One night, he arrives with an old map he has discovered that proves that Buffer's waterway actually belongs to the Carter ranch. At Dolores' bidding, Drake brings the map to the saloon and confronts Buffer. When Dan shows up, Buffer assumes they are in league and insists on a gunfight, during which Drake kills Buffer. Dan then attempts to get a court order to open John's coffin, prompting Dolores to ask Drake to help her fight it. Dolores' maid, Dora, overhears and informs Dan that Drake is coming after him. Ignoring the danger, Dan goes to the church, where Drake is waiting for him, his gun drawn. Declaring that his "boss" will decide his fate, Dan loads his pin into his gun and shoots at Drake. The wooden cross on the pin penetrates the vampire's heart, causing Drake to dissolve. Dolores, who has raced to the church at Dora's behest, sees the fight and falls into Dan's arms.