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In 1878, at the foot of Bailey Mountain, Arizona Territory, Ward Kinsman, a prospector and Indian guide, is asked by Major C. E. Breverly of the U.S. Cavalry to help him find Mary Carlyle, the daughter of a general who was abducted during an Indian raid. Fearing a heavy loss of life if he carries out the mission, Ward refuses the Major's request, but later accepts the assignment when Ann Duverall, Mary's attractive sister, asks him to help. Before leaving the cavalry headquarters on a preliminary expedition, Ward punches Tom Conovan, an alcoholic cavalryman who falsely accuses him of being a horse thief. Tom's wife Martha, who has suffered many abuses by her husband, is having an affair with Lt. Linus Delaney. Accompanied by a small group of cavalrymen, Ward follows the trail of Mary's abductors to an Indian encampment. After raiding the camp, Ward learns from an Indian woman that Mary is still alive and is with Diablito's band of Indians, who are directly ahead of them on the trail. While reporting the discovery to Captain Ben Lorrison, Ann's former sweetheart, Ward learns that Breverly has been injured in an attack by Conovan and that Lorrison is now in command. The expedition returns to the fort with an Apache prisoner, Tana, and preparations are made for a full-scale attack on Diablito's caravan. When Lorrison falsely accuses Delaney of causing Conovan's attack on Breverly and orders the lieutenant's transfer, Ward, who dislikes the new commander, challenges him to a fistfight. Though Ward receives a beating from Lorrison, the two eventually put aside their differences and make final preparations for the ambush. On the eve of the ambush, Lorrison proposes to Ann, who later tells Ward that she plans to accept the proposal. Ward balks at the news, and insists that Ann is really in love with him. Soon, after the expedition sets out to find Diablito, Ward kills Tana in self-defense when the Indian double-crosses the squadron and attacks him. The Cavalry squadron eventually finds the Apaches and, after stampeding their horses, engages them in bloody gun battle. As the battle nears its conclusion, Captain Jim R. Wolverson's reinforcements arrive and Ward rescues Mary. Although Ward is satisfied with the outcome of the ambush, Lorrison, determined to effect a complete routing of the Apaches, takes some men with him and goes after a small band of escaping Indians. Ward, realizing that Lorrison and his men are in great danger without a scout, follows them. He arrives too late, however, and discovers that the Indians have killed Lorrison and his men in an ambush. When the expedition returns to the fort, Ann is reunited with her sister and stands at Ward's side as the United States flag is raised to honor the dead.