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|Charlton Heston||Capt. Colt Saunders|
|Anne Baxter||Lorna Hunter Saunders|
|Gilbert Roland||Innocencio Ortega, Grand Vacaro|
|Tom Tryon||Beauregard 'Cinch' Saunders|
|Robert Blake||Rafael Ortega|
Confederate soldier Capt. Colt Saunders comes home to Texas from the war. Victorious supporters of the Union have taken control of his town, including a corrupt commissioner named Harrison and his deputy Cable.When he sees a Yankee insult a Southern belle named Lorna Hunter, the gallant Colt comes to her aid. He isn't aware of her past as a St. Louis dance-hall girl or her devious golddigging true nature. Colt is knocked cold and Lorna steals $900 from him.Her friend, saloon owner Ruby, lets her know that Colt is a wealthy rancher, so Lorna hatches a scheme. She returns his missing $900 and impresses him with her "honesty." Colt falls in love and marries her.His ranch, the Bar S, has fallen on hard times. Loyal ranch foreman Innocencio, who looked out for the spread while Colt was off to war, says that Yankees have been rustling their horses with no intervention by the law.Colt's brother, nicknamed Cinch, shows up. Cinch is not trustworthy, but Colt has felt obligated to him since a childhood accident when he lost an arm. Cinch is allowed to help run the ranch. But as soon as Cable claims that $16,000 in back taxes must be paid, Cinch and Lorna grab the opportunity and make off with Colt's horses and bag of gold.Lorna is pregnant. Colt tracks them down, sending Lorna back to the Bar S and warning Cinch to never set foot on the ranch again. Colt offers Lorna all his horses (worth $30,000) if she agrees to stay and give birth, leaving the child with him, before finally leaving. True to character, Lorna agrees coldheartedly agrees. Meanwhile, Cable shows up at the Commissioner Harrison's office, whose corrupt provisional Texas government is collapsing and about to depart, proposing a deal to kill Colt and grab control of both the Bar S ranch and the valuable horses. On the sly, Harrison and Cable plot to also murder Cinch, Lorna and everyone else at the ranch who could be a witness. Things don't go according to plan, and in the ensuing gunfight, Cinch and Cable are both killed. Finally, Lorna has a change of heart, and persuades Colt to let her stay.