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After serving six years in prison, Steve Ward returns to his hometown of Silver Hill, Oklahoma, intent upon living a quiet life on a ranch he has inherited from his grandfather. Steve discovers that a former girl friend, Marie "Oklahoma" Saunders, has opened a saloon in town and is currently backing the incumbent, corrupt senator, Jimmy Marsh, for re-election. Although Marie offers Steve a share in the saloon if he will join her and her gunmen, Tom Blake and Blackie Thompson, in ensuring that Marsh wins the election, Steve declines. When Steve rides out to his ranch, he passes the ranch of Ed Grant, Marsh's electoral opponent, and arrives just after Blackie and some of his men have been attempting to terrorize Ed's daughter Susan, who at first mistakes him for one of Marie's gunmen. After Steve tells Susan who he is and reminds her that they grew up together, Ed rides up and Steve gives him a letter appointing Ed executor of Steve's grandfather's estate. Ed accompanies Steve to his grandfather's ranch, and although it is dilapated, Steve decides to stay and fix it up. Later, Susan comes over and shows him a letter she has not yet given to her father. The anonymous letter warns Ed to leave the area or Susan will die. Although Susan explains that Marsh is simply a puppet candidate, being manipulated by Marie who has already taken over one third of the local ranch land, Steve is unwilling to become involved. As the election approaches, Marie's gunmen break up one of Ed's rallies and kill a supporter, prompting Sheriff Bill Peters to deputize more men and post a guard at the Grant ranch. Marie then instructs Blake to kidnap Susan as a way of controlling Ed. Blake, who is jealous of Marie's continued romantic interest in Steve, informs the sheriff that Steve is now Marie's top man. After attacking the guard, Blackie takes his place. When he tells Susan that her father has been injured and that she must go with him, she realizes she is being duped and grapples for possession of his gun. In the ensuing struggle, the gun fires and Steve, alerted by the sound, hurries to the ranch, but Blackie escapes. Later, Steve secretly visits Marie's room in the saloon to ask her for a loan to rebuild the ranch, explaining that the bank has denied him one due to his criminal record. Marie refuses and as Steve leaves, Blake observes him drop a letter, which he then retrieves. After Blackie is arrested for attacking the guard, Marie orders Blake to silence Blackie. At the jail, Blake slugs Deputy Sam, tells Blackie to tear off a piece of Steve's envelope then kills him. When Blackie is found clutching the piece of the letter, suspicion falls on Steve. Following one of Ed's rallies, Blake and two other gunmen accost him in an alley and, when Ed refuses to abandon his campaign, beat him to death. Meanwhile, Steve accuses Marie of framing him for Blackie's murder, but Marsh tells them that Blake killed Blackie. After Ed's body is discovered, an angry crowd heads for the saloon where Steve is suggesting that Marie and Marsh leave town. Blake enters and, at gunpoint, ties up Steve, then shoots the sheriff, leaving Steve's gun at the scene. When the townspeople reach the saloon, they find Marie standing at the entrance threatening to shoot anyone who tries to enter. Retreating when the crowd bombards her with mud and stones, Marie unties Steve, who is seized by the crowd. After Susan begs Sam to save Steve from a lynching, Steve states that Marie can confirm he was framed. Susan bursts into the saloon demanding to know the truth and, after Marie attacks her with a broken bottle, a brawl ensues in which Susan overpowers Marie and orders her to write a confession. Later, as Marie packs to leave, Blake tries to stop her. Steve surprises them and pursues Blake onto the saloon's roof and defeats him in a fistfight. As Marie rides off, Susan gives Marie's confession to Sam who arrests Blake. Susan and Steve, by now in love, walk off together.