This routine western finds Union Colonel John Henry Thomas (John Wayne) and company attacking Confederate soldiers lead by Colonel James Langdon (Rock Hudson). After a crushing defeat, Langdon torches his plantation rather than have it fall into enemy hands. A group of Southerners accept the invitation of Emperor Maximilian to join them, and Langdon heads off with a wagon train of settlers to a new land. Thomas with his adopted Indian son Blue Boy (Roman Gabriel) bring a herd of 3,000 horses across the Rio Grand for sale. The two factions meet at a Fourth of July party and relive the war through a drunken brawl. When Mexican General Rojas (Tony Aguilar) holds the Southerners hostage, Thomas orders the herd to stampede into the General's camp as ransom payment for their former enemies. Merlin Olsen plays the blacksmith Little George. Both Gabriel and Olsen were pro-football all-stars for the Los Angeles Rams. Olsen continued his acting and sports announcing after his gridiron days were over.