Dutchy Hoffman is driving a wagon across the plains. The passengers are less than thrilled as he keeps hitting shuck holes, and Ike Collins complains loudly. Fellow passenger Abby Lindon finds the whole thing amusing. One of the passengers assures Abby that they'll protect her. Hoby is riding escort, and finally points Dutchy over to make camp for the night. Once the driver pulls over, Hoby tells the passengers to get out and helps Abby down... handcuffs and all.
The prisoners on their way to the state penitentiary set up for the night, and Hoby tells the three male prisoners to go to bed. He lies out blankets for them by the wagon and hitches them to the wheels. Hoby then tells Abby that it's her turn. She suggests that they sit and talk, but Hoby isn't interested. He gets Abby into the back of the wagon, just as a man comes out of the night. The man, Travis, says that he saw their fire and would appreciate traveling with them through Indian country. Hoby isn't interested and tells him that Travis won't run into too many Indians heading east. He says that he can't let Travis travel with them, and Travis apologizes and leads his horse off.
Dutchy comments that he's never seen anyone along the road before, and admits that he's never seen Travis before. The driver beds down, and the prisoners jokingly offer to help if Hoby will set them free. Hoby gets into the wagon and lights a candle, and Abby tells him to put it out. She asks what Travis wanted, and says that he wants to kill her. Abby wants Hoby to kill him first, and explains that she was convicted of killing Travis' brother. Hoby goes out and sees Travis' fire nearby, and sits down near the fire.
The next day, the wagon continues on and Travis follows at a distance. Hoby easily spots him and Dutchy points out that Travis is riding a fresh horse. The Ranger tells him to give the team a breather, and rides back to meet with Travis. Hoby points out that Travis is dogging their trail, and Travis takes out his rifle and shoots a hawk out of the sky. The Ranger says that Abby told him that Travis intends to kill her, and says that they're heading for San Saba 20 miles ahead. Travis can reach it in a couple of hours if he rides ahead, The man declines, and says that he wants his money back from the three men in the wagon that robbed his bank. His brother helped them, and Abby was his wife and killed him. Hoby tells Travis to go home, but Travis says that he just wants to "borrow" the prisoners for one night. Hoby refuses, and Travis says that he'd hate to have to shoot Hoby and rides off.
That night, the group makes camp and Dutchy points out that there's been no sign of Travis. Hoby figures that Travis will be back, and sends Dutchy to bed. Later, Abby slips out of the wagon and goes over to Hoby. She points out that he didn't lock her to her bunk, and Hoby asks her where the money is. Abby offers him half the money, but Hoby says that he'll need it to make the kind of deal he wants with Travis. She warns him that Travis intends to kill her, and Hoby says that he plans to make sure they all get to prison.
Once Abby goes back to the wagon, Hoby wakes Dutchy up . Dutchy spots Travis at his campfire with two Comanches. Travis stamps out the fire and motions to the Indians, who slip off into the shadows. Hoby has Dutchy put out their fire, and Travis fires at them. He moves off and then yells, saying that he just wants justice. Hoby frees one prisoner and Travis shoots at Dutchy. Dutchy moves over to Hoby as night hawk sounds, and the two men figure that it's the Comanches. The driver warns that all Travis had to do to hire them was offer them scalps.
Travis tells Hoby to send over the prisoners and he'll return them the next day. Ike tells Hoby that he has to protect them until they get to prison, and they offer Hoby a share of the money to protect them. Abby says that they don't know where the money is, and Ike explains that Abby's husband Joe hid the money so she killed him. Abby says that Travis helped them rob his own bank, and he killed his brother Joe to get the money for himself. The jury wouldn't take her word for what happened.
The Indians keep signaling and Travis fires another shot and tells Hoby to send them out. Dutchy realizes that Hoby is going and offers to go with him. Ike asks Hoby to uncuff him and give him his gun, and gives his word that he won't try to run. Hoby agrees and frees Ike, and two sides move toward each other. One Comanche tries to ambush Hoby, and Ike fires a warning shot so that Hoby can knock the Indian down and finish him off. Travis shoots Ike, and Hoby confirms that Ike will leave. Hoby spots Travis when he fires again.
The two remaining prisoners, Elijah and Malcolm, tell Abby that she should go because she's not staked. Abby insists on staying to see the show.
Hoby tosses a branch to draw Travis' fire, and then shoots the man. Dutchy kills the second Indian and goes over to help Hoby with Ike.
The next day, the wagon continues on and Abby takes care of Ike. Hoby checks on them and Abby invites Hoby to visit them in ten years when they get out. Dutchy continues on his way, and Hoby figures that with the new testimony, Abby will be retried and acquitted.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 5, 2017