Beautiful Josie Winters (Marlene Dietrich) inspires coal-mining buddies Cash Evans (Randolph Scott) and Pittsburgh Markham (John Wayne) to better their lots in life. Competing for Josie's affection, the men rapidly climb to the top of their profession. Josie eventually falls for Pittsburgh, who spurns her love to marry for power. While ruthlessness becomes Pitt's ruin, Cash marries Josie and builds a profitable business of his own. It wakes a world war to reunite the feuding friends, who won't let their patriotism be overshadowed by an age-old rift.