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When a section of Oklahoma known as the Cherokee strip is opened to settlers, lawlessness prevails and is led by outlaw Whip McCord. In conflict with McCord are Judge Hardwick and his daughter Jane and John Kincaid and his son Ned, all of whom are determined to bring civilization to the territory by building a town that is destined to become Tulsa. An outsider, Kincaid's black sheep son, who is known as the Oklahoma Kid, nettles both the outlaws and the law with his own brand of individualism. As the town grows, so do the vices of drinking, gambling and violence, all manipulated by McCord and his gang. To combat McCord, John runs for mayor and Ned for sheriff. Moving to protect his interests, McCord frames John for murder and then cleverly arranges to have him tried in Judge Hardwick's absence. As a result, the innocent man is railroaded into a guilty verdict. This mistrial of justice reinforces the Kid's cynicism about the law, and he tries to break his father out of jail. McCord uses the incident to incite the crowd to lynch John. Outraged, the Kid takes the law into his own hands, tracks down the killers and forces a confession of McCord's involvement. Ned races to arrest McCord, who cold-bloodedly shoots him. As he dies, Ned saves the Kid's life by killing McCord. Justice done, the Kid decides to go straight and marries Jane.