This second filming of Zane Grey's novel (first brought to the screen by Paramount in 1924 with Bebe Daniels as the female lead) gave Randolph Scott his first starring role. Rancher Adam Naab (J. Farrell MacDonald) owns a spread that includes the only way out of the valley where gang-leader Judson Holderness (David Landau) is hiding a huge herd of stolen cattle, and he won't let Holderness move them across his land. The outlaw leader decides he's going to take the ranch, first by disputing and jumping Naab's water-claim and trying to starve him out. But Naab is one step ahead of him, and hires Jack Hare (Randolph Scott), a surveyor from back east, to remap and confirm the property lines, and Hare survives an attempt by Holderness' henchman Lefty (Guinn Williams) to kill him in the desert. Jack's arrival, however, turns the head of Judy (Sally Blane), Naab's ward (and the daughter of his late business partner), who is supposed to marry Naab's son Snap (Gordon Westcott). Snap already owes Holderness a lot of money from gambling losses at the latter's saloon, and he plays off of Snap's jealousy to get him to betray his own father. Complicating matters still further is the fact that Naab himself has long dreamed of Snap and Judy marrying, and won't let her growing infatuation with Jack get in the way of that plan. Matters all come to a head when all of Holderness' plans seem to unravel and he decides to take the ranch by force.