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Jack Carson, a U.S. Marshal and wagon train scout, learns that white renegades are responsible for recent attacks on wagon trains in the Lone Prairie area, which have been blamed on the local Indians. He sends his friend, Alex Kirby, to take this information to his partners, Marshals Buck Roberts and Sandy Hopkins, who are guiding a wagon train loaded with railroad construction materials bound for Oregon. Jack then drives ahead to Beaver Lake, the first stop, to determine if renegades are operating from there. Among the people being transported on the wagon train are Sadie Rand and her husband, who want to establish a gambling house and saloon in Beaver Lake. They are accompanied by an unidentified pregnant woman for whom Buck has purchased passage. Both the Rands and the pregnant woman are snubbed by Judge John Corkle and his wife, who are headed to Beaver Lake to join with Corkle's brother Jim, who owns most of the land around the lake. While in Beaver Lake, Jack, who is posing as a roving gambler, overhears Jim's plans to prevent the construction of the railroad by sabotaging the wagon train with his brother's help. When the wagon train makes camp the night before arriving in Beaver Lake, the pregnant woman dies during childbirth, and the Rands discover that she was the legal wife of Jim's son Tony. They unofficially adopt the baby and keep the connection to the Corkles a secret, hoping the information will be useful later. The next day, Alex reaches Buck and Sandy with his message from Jack, and they all see signal fires set by the Corkles. Buck splits up the wagon trains for safety, and during the attack on one of the groups, Rand and Alex are mortally wounded trying to defend the settlers. Buck's wagon containing the railroad supplies makes it safely through the pass to Beaver Lake, and Alex survives long enough to return with a wig from one of the attackers, who were dressed as Indians. When Jack meets the wagon train, he arranges with Buck to ride in to Beaver Lake as Sadie's friend. Buck settles the supply wagons around the lake while the survivors stay in town. Sadie, who has decided to pursue her husband's dream of a gambling house, goes with Jack to confront Jim and Tony and reveal Tony's secret marriage. Jim is outraged and is coerced into giving Sadie the town's gambling concession. Jack then forces Jim to accept him as his partner, knowing that Jim plans to get rid of Buck and sabotage the railroad supplies. Late into the opening night of Sadie's saloon, Jack gains Jim's confidence by pretending to coerce Sandy into revealing Buck's departure plans. Jim plots another raid on the wagon train and secretly tells his cohort, Loder, to make sure that Jack is killed during the raid. Jack has arranged a set-up, however, and the corrupt gang is arrested when they attack the supply wagons. Sandy then arrests John and his wife. Loder escapes, but is killed in a shootout with Buck. With the gang rounded up, the wagon train departs for Oregon. Sadie remains in Beaver Lake with the baby, awaiting the promise of romance with Buck when he returns.