Young Tom Tiflin (Peter Miles) is unable to find the love and guidance he needs from his parents. For friendship and support, he turns to easy-going hired hand, Billy Buck (Robert Mitchum). In an attempt to get closer to his son, Tom's father gives him a pony to raise. As the horse becomes the focus of Tom's life, it ultimately drives the family further apart as Tom turns to Billy for help in rearing his beloved horse. Family ties and Tom and Billy's friendship are tested to the limit when the pony becomes sick and disappears.