Tall, serious faced Mitt Stone runs away from the ranch and takes a freighting job from Uvalde to the West. He is determined to make money and meet up with his buddy Bob Guthrie on the road. At Fort Davis he meets Lydia Lorrain but Mitt fails the mother's test.
He and Bob find a niche: buying mules cheap and selling them to the stage and freight line, but the Civil War has destroyed currency and the draft looms. Mitt's brother Sam converts their paper money to gold. With their pal M.L. Carter they strike for Mexico only to have their gold confiscated by thieving, murdering Confederate Captain Richard Matlock.
Mitt returns from the war fully a man. Two passions drive him: revenge on Matlock and the longing to gain Lydia's favor. Finding Lydia seems too easy at first. Now he must risk her life and his entire family to face Matlock.