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In the 1860s, at a cavalry post in Nevada, Major Cooper asks trooper Dan Parker, who is about to complete his term of duty and return to his father's ranch in California, to stay on and capture Black Jack, a rustler who has been stealing the cavalry's horses. After Dan catches the rustler and four of his men, Cooper assigns Lieutenant Burke to escort them back to the post, but the traitorous Burke, who is in league with Black Jack, helps him to escape and, from hiding, shoots Dan. With Dan missing, Cooper then assigns Burke to go to Central City, California where Frank and Jesse James have been robbing stages of federal gold and tells him to make contact with undercover officers who are trying to locate the James brothers. After Dan is found alive and recovers at the fort, Cooper, knowing that Central City is near Dan's father's ranch, asks him to go there and investigate a real estate dealer named Sam Casey, whom the army suspects of being behind the robberies, and gives Dan a letter authorizing him to replace Burke. Meanwhile, in Central City, Casey, who has also been masquerading as Black Jack and is a member of the James brothers' gang, tells Frank and Jesse that he has been stockpiling the gold from the robberies and plans to move it out-of-state in one shipment. Casey has buried the gold on a piece of land for which he has applied for homestead rights, and complications arise when he is informed that the land already belongs to Dan's father John. Casey and his henchman, Ace Harkey, then visit John's ranch but fail to negotiate the purchase of his land. After two of Cooper's soldiers, posing as prospectors, see the James gang rob a stage, they contact Cooper by telegraph. Later, Casey receives a letter from Burke, who has returned to the cavalry post, advising him that undercover soldiers have witnessed the latest robbery. Burke also warns that Dan may have discovered Casey's double identity. After Casey's secretary, Rita Starr, overhears Casey and the James brothers plotting to kill John, she informs the local sheriff. Suspecting that the sheriff and a blacksmith are working for the army, Casey has them killed, as well as the two "prospectors." Harkey then chokes John to death. Later, Dan, in response to the undercover agents' information, arrives on the outskirts of town with a dozen soldiers disguised as cowboys, who then proceed into town while Dan goes to his father's ranch and there discovers his grave. Rita and the twin orphan boys John was rearing tell him that they have been guarding the ranch until he arrived home. While Casey makes final preparations to move a wagon containing the half-million dollars in gold, Harkey captures Dan and Rita, intending to kill them both, but Dan beats Harkey to the draw. When Burke arrives in town and informs Casey of the soldiers' presence, Casey orders him to shoot them in the back. Burke refuses and is killed by Casey and Frank as he tries to warn his former comrades. After a prolonged gunfight between the outlaws and the soldiers breaks, Dan arrives to help his men defeat Casey and the James gang. Although Frank and Jesse manage to escape, Dan shoots and kills Casey. Rita then happily accepts Dan's proposal to get married and rear the twins together.