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When lone rider Tex arrives in the small western town of Junta Grande, he becomes embroiled in a feud between cattle rustlers Hank Hays and Heesman. After Tex helps Hays to intimidate Heesman into leaving town, Hays offers him a job at the ranch owned by Bull Herrick, a cattleman who recently suffered a crippling accident and is now in a wheelchair. Upon their arrival at Herrick's ranch, however, Hays and his men discover that the wily Herrick has also hired Heesman as a foreman in the hope that Hays and Heesman will be too busy fighting each other to rustle his herd. The following day, Herrick sends Tex into town to meet his sister Helen, who is returning home from the East. Helen is also greeted by wealthy Robert Bell, who, years earlier, had tried to "buy" Helen by offering to help the struggling Herrick if he gave him Helen's hand in marriage. Helen reacts coolly to Bell's assertion that his feelings for her remain the same, then goes to the ranch, where she attempts to persuade Herrick to go East with her for better medical care. Herrick refuses, however, and when Helen expresses concern over his hiring practices, Herrick insists that one must "set a thief to catch a thief." As the weeks pass, Helen attracts unwanted attention from the gunslingers, and after Tex prevents Smokey Joe, one of Hays's henchman, from harassing her, Herrick orders Tex to protect Helen. One night, Hays tricks Heesman by pretending to leave, then, after Heesman's gang have saddled up to rustle the cattle, returns to laugh at them. Soon after, Bell arrives and offers to help Herrick, but both he and Helen are wary, despite Bell's assertion that there are no strings attached. The next day, Tex, wins another fierce fistfight in order to protect Helen, and she begins to think that he is different from the other men. That night, Hays and Heesman agree to rustle the cattle together, a few hundred at a time, and split the profits, rather than continue fighting each other. While the rustlers are putting their plan into action, Helen and Herrick are again visited by Bell, who insults Herrick for turning down his proposal. The angry Herrick is injured when he lunges at Bell, and Tex helps Helen care for her brother until Dr. Beebe arrives. The doctor warns them that Herrick is dangerously ill, but Tex lies to Hays, telling him that Herrick will recover soon, hoping thereby to keep the outlaws under control. Tex suggests to Helen that she could dismiss the men if she sold the herd immediately, and the next day, she goes into town to find a buyer. Hays sees her there and upon his return to the ranch, upbraids Tex for letting Helen leave the ranch. Meanwhile, Helen has spotted a wanted poster for Tex, whose real name is Jim Wall, for the murder of two men. As Hays and his men begin preparations to steal the rest of the herd that evening, Helen returns and warns Tex to leave before she sends word to the sheriff of his true identity. In response, Tex asserts that she would have turned him in immediately if she did not have feelings for him, but after Tex kisses her, Helen slaps him and stalks off. Soon after, Hays and his men get Heesman's gang drunk and tie them to their bunks, then steal the cattle. While Hays's gang forces Tex to accompany them to the cattle buyer, Hays and one of his men, Sparrow, kidnap Helen and join the others later. Although the men protest that Helen's abduction will incite the townspeople, Hays insists on keeping her. Early the next morning, Beebe discovers Helen's absence, but after he frees Heesman, the outlaw shoots him, then chases Hays. When Beebe's riderless horse returns to town, the sheriff and his posse begin hunting the outlaws. Hays and his men reach their desert hideout and set up camp, and there, Tex continues trying to protect Helen, even though she no longer trusts him. Early one morning, Tex sneaks into the corral to steal a horse for Helen, but when she refuses to leave with him, Tex knocks her unconscious and rides off with her. Hays soon awakens, however, and the men chase after Tex. When the outlaws shoot at Tex, the noise alerts both Heesman and the sheriff to their position. After Tex and Helen are forced to abandon their horses and climb up into the rocks, the rustlers find themselves fighting each other and the posse. Hays pursues Tex and Helen, but after Tex captures him, Helen is amazed to hear Tex accuse him of pillaging his ranch and raping and killing his wife. Just then, one of Hays's men surprises Helen, enabling Hays to disarm Tex, but Helen succeeds in starting a rockslide that buries Hays and his men. After the sheriff has apprehended the remaining outlaws and uncovered Hays, the dying rustler tells the sheriff that Tex never intentionally committed murder, but was justified in killing the men who helped to burn his ranch. With his name cleared, Tex rides off with Helen to begin a new life.