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In 1890, Colorado rancher Ma Woods protests when her neighbor, George Davidson, fences off a spring from which her cattle drink water, because it is on his private property. Recent attacks on the local ranches and their cattle herds have forced many ranchers off their land, and Ma now suspects that George is responsible. Ma defies George by cutting the fence and letting her cattle through, but after her ranch hands quit because they were shot at, Ma writes to her friend, Arizona rancher Buck Peters. Ma asks Buck, who owns the Bar-20 ranch, to buy her cattle, as no one else will, and she will otherwise be forced to foreclose on the ranch. Peters sends his foreman, Hopalong Cassidy, and his ranch hands, Lucky Jenkins and California, to purchase $20,000 worth of cattle from Ma. Along the way Hoppy is ambushed and robbed of the $20,000. When he arrives in Cooperstown, Hoppy keeps his identity a secret, and after saving Ma's daughter Myra from a stampede, he, Lucky and California hire on as Ma's new ranch hands. After George's cattle herd is raided, Hoppy suspects Ma of the rustling, but also believes that there is a third party at work fueling their feud. Hoppy encourages a truce between Ma and George, and then he, Lucky and California follow Ma's foreman, Hank Merritt, to the rustlers' hideout. There they are taken hostage by Merritt and Joe Weiler, George's foreman, who hope to drive Ma and George off their ranches and claim the land. Hoppy, Lucky and California turn the tables on their captors, however, and escape just as Weiler and Merritt begin a cattle drive, having lied to Ma and George that their cattle have been sold. A gunfight ensues after the rustlers purposely stampede the cattle, and Weiler shoots George. Although some of the rustlers are captured, Hoppy's $20,000 is still missing. By inspecting the bullet case from Weiler's gun, Hoppy proves that Weiler shot George. Hoppy then follows Weiler to the hideout and, after he finds the stolen $20,000, arrests him. George recovers from his gunshot wound, and with the cattle sold, peace is restored to the neighboring ranchers. Their job done, Hoppy, Lucky and California return to the Bar-20 ranch.