powered by AFI
In 1881, William "Bonanza Bill" Barker arrives in New York from El Paso to convince millionaire Samuel Kent to invest in a mining scheme. Barker, whose reputation as a big talker precedes him, learns that Kent's current lover is Clara Martinez, his long-lost wife from El Paso, and uses his discovery to gain access to Kent. When Kent is informed of Barker's shady past, however, he tricks the Westerner into leaving the city empty-handed. Back in El Paso, Barker is persuaded by a local judge to go West with a law book and hunt down "The Tonto Kid," a young outlaw. Barker also learns that his daughter, Nitta Moseby, who believes that her father died at Gettysburg, is on her way West to marry a rancher named Danny Sanders. After The Kid holds up the train on which Nitta is traveling and steals her engagement ring, Nitta jumps off and demands its return. Attracted to the feisty Nitta, The Kid, who is also called Ted, takes her to his campfire, where he is surprised by the arrival of "sure-shot" Barker. Relieved of his booty, The Kid rides off, leaving Nitta in Barker's care. When Barker realizes that Nitta is his daughter, he decides to organize the new railroad community of Martinez, Arizona, and convinces the locals to name him temporary mayor. That same night, The Kid is confronted by Danny, who is actually a fellow outlaw. Danny draws his gun on The Kid and is killed. Outraged, Nitta accuses The Kid of murder, which inspires Barker to press the outlaw to finance Nitta's ranch with his booty. While The Kid quietly helps Nitta with her new ranch, Barker fights with the outlaw McQuinn brothers, who are using a government-placed Indian tribe to obtain control of valuable river land. On the day of the town's first official mayoral election, Barker, whose popularity is on the wane, is saved by the arrival of Clara and Kent. Barker convinces the Indian tribe to re-locate in California and puts them on Clara's train. Outsmarted by Barker, the McQuinns provoke a gun battle, which Barker and The Kid finally win. As Barker is re-instated as mayor, Nitta, who has tricked Barker into revealing that Danny was a cowardly scoundrel, marries the reformed Kid.