While traveling West to seek their fortunes, Cash Holbrook and Jeff Cameron stop at a watering hole in Arizona’s Painted Desert and discover an infant boy in a ravaged covered wagon.
The two men remain at the watering hole with the boy, whom Cash has named Bill and Jeff calls Dan, until Cash, anxious to claim grazing land, insists on leaving. When Jeff angrily refuses to move, Cash grabs the baby and rides away with him.
Many years later, a still vindictive Jeff, who has converted the land around the watering hole into a small cattle ranch, and his grown daughter Mary Ellen stand ready to prevent Cash, a neighboring rancher, from bringing his cattle to their water.
As they wait for Cash, Rance Brett, a cowboy from Montana, rides up to the hole and, taken by Mary Ellen’s beauty, offers to help them deflect Cash’s cattle. Before the two cattlemen confront each other, however, a third party causes both men’s cattle to stampede.
Later, after he confesses to Cash that he had caused the stampede, the now grown Bill begs his father to join with Jeff to mine the tungsten ore that he has discovered on the Cameron property. Cash, however, hotly refuses to consider the idea and orders Bill out of the house.
The next day Bill shows up at the Cameron’s ranch and convinces Jeff to pursue his mining scheme. After Mary Ellen hears about Bill’s proposal, she warms instantly to him, causing Brett to stew with jealousy. Bill and Jeff build the mine and extract enough ore to meet the first payment date on their bank loan.
As they are moving the ore to town, however, one of the wagons is ambushed by unseen attackers, and the shipment is destroyed. Bill, working furiously with his miners, is able to deliver another load of ore in time to meet the deadline, and then proposes to Mary Ellen, who has moved to town to attend school, that they marry at four o’clock that afternoon. While Bill celebrates his victory in town, a series of deliberately set explosions destroys the mine.
On Jeff’s orders, Brett rides to inform Bill of the disaster and, in front of Bill, accuses Cash of the deed. After Cash opens his bank account to Bill as a show of good faith, Bill signs half of his share of the mine over to his father. As Brett listens, Cash then gleefully informs his banker that, with Bill’s share, he can now use Jeff’s watering hole.
When Jeff hears, through Brett, about Cash’s plans, he rushes to town to confront him at gunpoint. Bill, however, forces Brett to confess that he had sabotaged the mine out of jealousy, and then prevents Cash and Jeff from shooting each other in a showdown. With his “fathers” re-united at last, Bill embraces his bride-to-be.
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