Heck Claibourne has been involving young Russ Whitely in his cattle rustling schemes, and when they are nearly caught by Sheriff Doug Barrett and deputy O'Hara, their cohort, Luke, shoots and kills O'Hara. Heck and Russ return to the ranch where Russ works before Doug arrives and act as though they have been there all along. In private Doug, who is fond of Russ and is engaged to Russ's boss, ranch owner Diane, asks the boy to stay away from Heck, because he is aware of Heck's illegal activities and fears injuring Russ while bringing Heck to justice. Russ denies his involvement with Heck's gang. Later, Doug asks Diane if she would break their engagement and try to influence Russ to go straight, as Russ has long been in love with her. Diane promises to try, and announces her broken engagement to Russ. Doug is pressured by Baker, leader of the ranchers, to capture the rustlers, but Doug is reluctant to use his gun without first having proof. When renowned gunslinger Bat Morrison threatens Russ for taunting him, Doug intervenes and hires Bat as his deputy. Doug then goes to Diane's ranch to arrest Luke, but Luke refuses to surrender himself and is killed by Bat. Russ blames Doug for Luke's death, although Doug reminds him that Luke was a murderer. When Luke's brother, butcher Butch Grimes, hears of his brother's death, he vows revenge, and Heck promises to help him exact it. Doug tries to find out if Butch has been buying stolen beef for his shop, but in order to entrap Doug, Butch only reveals that Heck is out to kill Russ. After Heck tells Russ of his plans to kill Doug, Russ asks Diane to tell Doug that his life is in danger. Unwilling to arrest Russ after he has made this attempt to save his life, Doug turns in his resignation, and Baker authorizes Bat to do whatever he must to bring in the outlaws. Russ bids farewell to Diane, telling her he is going across the border to the "land of vanishing men." After getting a confession from Butch, Bat tries to arrest Russ, but Doug, fearful that Bat will kill him, insists on accompanying them to jail. When Heck and his gang arrive, Bat threatens to shoot Russ if they are fired upon. Bat shoots Russ, and then is killed by Doug. Doug turns Heck and his gang over to Baker, who arrests them, while Doug takes the injured Russ back to his ranch to start life anew.