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While riding across the desert, guide Jim Harvey encounters Tigre, a wounded Yaqui Indian. Jim stops to help him and learns that he was shot by a white man. After Jim removes the bullet and washes the wound, Tigre explains that he is the son of Aguila, a fierce Yaqui leader, and warns Jim to leave the area before Aguila arrives. Later, near the town of Mile High, Jim joins a wagon train led by Seth Blanden, which he will guide to Borax, where Seth shares a ranch with his brother Lam. Also in the group are Seth's wife Sarah and her sister, Laura Saunders. To avoid the Yaqui, whom he knows are in the area, Jim directs the wagons to travel by a roundabout route. Along the way, Sarah, noticing Laura's interest in Jim, expresses her wish that Laura marry Seth's brother Lam and share the ranch with them. While scouting ahead of the train, Jim spots a smoke signal and hurriedly rejoins the wagons. In the shelter of the nearby cliffs, Jim hides the women behind the chaparral. After a preliminary attack by the Indians, Jim decides to try to bargain with Aguila, believing that he might succeed because he saved Tigre's life. Aguila, insisting that his son has no white friends, ties Jim to a stake in the sun and leaves him to die, but later, Tigre's mother, who is grateful to Jim for saving Tigre's life, cuts him loose. When Jim arrives in Borax, the townspeople greet him with hostility, and he discovers that with the exception of the women, the entire Blanden party was killed. Jim tries to tell his side of the story, but the crowd, led by Lam, demands his life for abandoning the party. To protect Jim, Sheriff Murchoree takes him to jail. Later, Tigre sneaks into the jail and frees Jim. As they escape, Tigre reveals that his father learned about the location of the wagons from a white man. Before he can reveal more, Tigre is killed, and a wounded Jim runs for his life. He makes it as far as Nick Buckley's ranch before his injured horse collapses. Jim intends to steal a horse, but is spotted by one of the ranch hands, who takes him to Buckley. While Jim tells his story, he collapses from his wounds, and Buckley, reminded of a similar incident in his past, helps him. Buckley lends Jim an awkward-looking horse named Tumbleweed, saying that he is the best horse in his stable. He then stalls the posse while Jim heads into Yaqui territory in search of Aguila. When Jim stops to rest he discovers a saddle bag filled with silver ore hidden in a clearing, which, unknown to Jim, is on Blanden land. Meanwhile, in town, Buckley's wife Louella tells Sarah that she and her husband have helped Jim because Buckley was once falsely accused of a crime. She helped him then, and later married him. When Lam decides to join the posse, Laura insists on joining him. After crossing some alkali flats, Jim and Tumbleweed reach Coyote Springs, only to discover that it is dry, but Tumbleweed digs down to water and saves their lives. Jim sees Murchoree arrive without the posse and almost leaves him to die, but finally turns back and shows the sheriff the water hole that Tumbleweed dug. Jim is about to tell Murchoree about finding the ore when the rest of the posse arrives and stops him. Suddenly, the Yaqui attack, and Jim suggests that they "play possum" to lure Aguila into the open. The ploy works, and Aguila is badly wounded. Jim begs him to reveal the name of the white man who betrayed the wagon train, and when Lam and his party approach, Aguila accuses him of betraying his brother so that he could profit from the silver. Using Laura as a shield, Lam escapes into Yaqui territory. Jim chases him on Tumbleweed, who is faster than he looks. The two men struggle on some cliffs, and Lam falls to his death. When the others join Jim, Buckley gives Tumbleweed to Jim and Laura as a wedding present.