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"As Big and Spectacular and Exciting As The Mighty West Itself!"
Ben Allison (Clark Gable) and his brother Clint (Cameron Mitchell) journey to Montana in search of gold. They come upon wealthy businessman Nathan Stark (Robert Ryan) who they rob and kidnap before he talks them into becoming partners with him on a cattle drive to Montana. As they travel to Texas to buy the cattle, they come upon a party of settlers who share their fire and agree to slaughter a mule for food; as they leave the next day they realize the Indians (Sioux) are likely to attack the settlers and Ben heads back to see the last of the settlers being attacked by a war party and shoots several of them. He saves Nella Turner (Jane Russell) who eventually joins them on the cattle drive. Ben and Nella have a fling while stuck in a cabin during a snow storm, but Nella rejects him as he "dreams too small" wanting to settle down to a ranch in his hometown whereas she sees that lifestyle as the road to unhappiness given her parents' experience. Arriving in San Antonio, Nella takes up with Stark, whose desire to make as much money as possible coincides with Nella's own ambitions. But when, at Stark's insistence, she accompanies him on the final trek to Montana, the friction between Ben and Stark erupts as the drive heads into dangerous Indian country.