After losing his horse in a bull-riding contest, rancher Pat Brennan (Randolph Scott) hitches a lift home on the stagecoach out of the frontier town of Contention. At a remote way station, the stage is ambushed by a ruthless bandit gang led by Usher (Richard Boone). They don't intend leaving any witnesses - until they discover that one of the passengers is copper heiress Doretta Mims (Maureen O'Sullivan). Now they want $50,000 in ransom from her father - or everybody dies. As tension mounts almost to breaking point, Brennan must discover a way to outwit -and outgun - the outlaw gang before they murder all of their hostages.