The turbulent atmosphere of post-Civil War Texas is sprawling, panoramic Western drama. Charlton Heston plays Colt Saunders, a Civil War vet returning home to his Texas homestead after years spent on the battlefield. But once he arrives at his Bar S Ranch he faces conflicts of a different kind. One is with his brand-new bride, Lorna (Anne Baxter), who is desperate to keep her wild, honky-tonk days in St. Louis saloons buried in the past. And a larger threat is a gang of ruthless carpetbaggers and their corrupt provisional government intent on nabbing Colt's impressive, valuable spread and keeping the land for themselves.