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While waiting in the small frontier town of New Jerusalem for his three partners, "Barbwire" Tom Gibbons, "Wild Bill" Kearney and José, bandit Bob Sangster goes into the cantina to see Carmelita, a dance hall girl who loves him, thereby incurring the jealousy of the town's sheriff. That same afternoon, Bob meets his partners and robs the New Jerusalem bank, during which the teller and José are killed. Bob, Bill and a wounded Barbwire escape, aided by a sandstorm that delays the town posse's pursuit. After losing their horses in the storm, and with their water supply nearly exhausted, the bandits come upon a wagon with a delirious woman inside. Thinking that he will rob and have his way with her, Bob first gives the woman water, then discovers that she is about to give birth. Because she is alone, as the woman dies, she asks the bandits to be the child's godfathers and take the baby to his father, Frank Edwards, who is the bank teller in New Jerusalem. Shamed when they realize that they have killed the baby's father, the three bandits bury the woman and decide to return to New Jerusalem as promised. At first they feel burdened by the baby, but quickly become attached to him. On the trail, when Barbwire can no longer go on, he insists that his friends leave him, then shoots himself. In the middle of the night, after the baby has finished the last of the canned milk from the wagon, Bill sneaks away from their campfire, leaving a note for the sleeping Bob that this is his "Xmas" gift because three cannot survive on the small amount of water they have left. At first angry with the baby when he wakes up and reads Bill's note, Bob realizes that he, too, has grown to love the child and determines to reach New Jerusalem. Hours later, after he gives the baby the last drops of water from his canteen, Bob wanders desperately through the desert until he finds a small water hole. As soon as he tastes the water, he knows there is something wrong with it, then sees a sign stating the water contains arsenic. Frantic and hallucinating, Bob realizes that the only possible way to save the baby is to drink as much of the poisoned water as possible and hope that he has enough strength to reach New Jerusalem. As Christmas services are being held, Bob staggers into town and is barely able to enter the church before collapsing and dying with the baby still in his arms. A kind woman from the congregation then cares for the baby.