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In the 1840s, Ramsey MacKay, the driver for the struggling Wells Fargo mail and freight company, will secure an important contract if he delivers fresh oysters to Buffalo from New York City. When he rescues Justine Pryor and her mother, who are stranded in a broken wagon on his route, he doesn't let them slow him down and gives the ladies an exhilirating ride into Buffalo. He arrives in time to obtain the contract and is then sent by company president Henry Wells to St. Louis to establish a branch office. There he falls in love with Justine, who lives in St. Louis and is equally attracted to him. Though her parents want her to marry childhood sweetheart, Talbot Carter, Justine ends the relationship. Ramsey leaves her to start another office in San Francisco to capitalize on the California gold rush and takes woodsman Hank York with him. He is very successful in California, but when he takes the miners' money to San Francisco, he is attacked and robbed by outlaw Dan Slade. Though insurance recoups the miners' money, all of Ramsey's profits are lost. Some time later, when prospector Dan Timball asks Ramsey to send for his bride Lucy, she arrives, accompanied by Justine, whose parents have finally consented to her marriage. Over the next few years, Ramsey and Wells Fargo become very successful and his marriage to Justine produces Alice and Nick. Despite Ramsey's obsession with his work, their marriage remains a happy one. With the Civil War, however, Wells Fargo stagecoaches are continually attacked while attempting to ship gold to Washington. Ramsey meets with President Abraham Lincoln and agrees to support the Union, but because Justine's younger brother Nick was killed fighting for the Confederacy, she expects Ramsey to remain politically neutral. When Ramsey stands by his promise to Lincoln, Justine writes a note to Talbot, who is a Confederate officer, informing him of Ramsey's route. She realizes that she cannot send it, however, throws the note on the floor and returns to St. Louis with her children and her mother. On the way to Washington, Ramsey is attacked by Talbot's regiment and Talbot is killed, after which Ramsey discovers Justine's note on his body. Disillusioned, Ramsey completely severs relations with her. Many years later, after both Ramsey and the company have been very successful, he returns to St. Louis for a testimonial dinner. Alice, who is now seventeen and has not seen her father since she was a little girl, pleads with him to attend her birthday party the following night. There, he learns that it was Justine's embittered mother who betrayed him, and, at last, the couple are reconciled.