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One afternoon in the small town of Blue Springs, schoolteacher Jed Quinlan breaks up a fight between tomboy Boots Hollister and Indian Little Beaver, who taunt each other with the names "Wildcat" and "Injun." Quinlan administers a hearty switching to both combatants, and later that afternoon, the children return to the schoolhouse accompanied by their guardians, Boots's older brother Billy, and Little Beaver's friend, Red Ryder. Billy does not disguise his antagonism toward Red, who, five years previously, sent Billy's father Con to prison for robbing his stagecoach line of $150,000. After settling the confrontation, Red goes to the stagecoach office, which he runs with his aunt, The Duchess, who is worried about a shipment of $150,000 that she is to receive the next day. Red assures her that the money will be safe, for while it is the same amount stolen by Con earlier, he is not due to be paroled for a few more days. Meanwhile, Quinlan meets with Con's former cohort, Joe Slade, who reveals that Con, who has reformed, was released weeks earlier. Quinlan, who is posing as a teacher to cover his many criminal activities, deduces that Con will be on the next day's stage, and that the upcoming shipment must be Con's old loot, which was never recovered. Quinlan and Slade then enlist the hot-tempered Billy in a robbery of the stage. Although he does not succeed in catching the outlaws, Red prevents the theft, then is pleasantly surprised to discover that Con, who is a passenger on the stage, has reformed and intends to return the money to the bank. Boots happily greets her father when he arrives home, but Billy is less pleased to see Con after he declares that the Hollister family is going to make a clean start. Billy runs off to join Slade, and Con and Boots go alone to town to seek a loan to rebuild their ranch. None of the locals are willing to give Con a second chance, although Red does his best to vouch for him. Bitter at seeing his father treated so shabbily, Billy agrees to Quinlan's plan to rob the bank. Red hears their gunshots, then chases the crooks as they attempt to escape and succeeds in shooting Slade and wounding Quinlan. Quinlan eludes Red and rides Slade's horse to Con's barn, where he then hides. The horse and saddlebags, which contain the stolen money, are found by Con, whom Red suspects when he arrives shortly after. Determined to clear himself and help Billy, Con locks Red in a closet and sets off to find his son. Little Beaver frees Red and they ride in pursuit, after which Boots discovers the wounded Quinlan hiding in the barn. Boots realizes that Quinlan is one of the robbers, and shoots her with one of Red's pistols, which he had dropped while struggling with Con. When Con and Billy find Boots's body, Quinlan states that Red is the murderer, and Con holds Little Beaver captive in order to force Red into a fight. Upon his arrival at the Hollister house, Red deduces that Quinlan is the escaped robber and proves his guilt by comparing his wound to a bullet hole in the saddle bags, which he had been carrying over his shoulder. Red apprehends Quinlan, who is sentenced to hang after Billy testifies against him. In exchange for his testimony, Billy is paroled to Con's custody, and soon the father and son gratefully bid farewell to Red and Little Beaver.