A couple ride across the countryside in a carriage until a wheel breaks off. The driver, Sonny Montgomery, asks his companion Juliet Carteret if she's okay. Bret rides along and offers to help, and they gladly accept. A group of men ride up and Juliet yells a warning to Sonny, who runs off. The men--the Carteret clan--spot Sonny running and one of them shoot and wound him. The brothers go after him, while Juliet pleads to her father Enoch. Enoch says that justice will be done. One of the remaining brothers, Ty, asks Bret if he's a Montgomery and Bret and Juliet both tell him that he isn't.
A wounded Sonny hides in the wood as the Carteret brothers Jeb and Nat run past looking for him.
Bret insists to Enoch that he had no idea that Sonny and Juliet were eloping. Enoch and Ty don't believe him, Juliet points out that the Montgomerys don’t want her and Sonny to marry, either. Jeb and Nat report back that Sonny got away, and Bret says that he's on the way to visit Bart and Pappy in St. Louis. The Carterets still don't believe him, and fights Ty when Ty tries to stop him. Ty slips and hits his head on a rock, knocking himself out.
The Carterets take Bret and Ty to their cabin, and Enoch says that it's God will if Ty dies. Bret insists that it was an accident, but the brothers are ready to hang him. Juliet says that it's all over a feud over 50 acres of bottom land from back in her grandfather's day. She tells Bret that the killing dies down from time to time, but then something happens and the warfare breaks out again. Mrs. Carteret comes down and says that Ty leaves, and Bret tries to leave. She says that Ty told her that he demands vengeance and wants them to hold him until Ty is ready to have a duel. When Bret tries to leave, the brothers draw a gun on him and he has no choice but to stay.
Come morning, Bret's guard Jeb dozes off and he tries to sneak out after taking the brother's rifle and his own gun belt. Outside, Nat shoots at Bret and he takes cover. Ty and Enoch join in from an upstairs window, and one of Bret runs back in the house as Montgomerys open fire on the Carterets. Nat takes his rifle back, and Enoch insists that they can handle the Montgomerys. Bret suggests that the Carterets come to terms with the Montgomerys so someone can use the land. Enoch explains that his father won the land in cards but the Montgomerys claimed it was a bad deal and shot the father. Ty comes down and shoots a silver dollar out of the air to demonstrate he's okay, and promises to settle his score with Bret.
Bret suggests that they use another game of cards with both families watching so there's no cheating. He offers to represent him, and says that it's an affair of honor. If he wins then they can let him go, and if not then him and Ty can resolve their differences. Enoch calls Jeb over and says that he knows that he's gambling even if he doesn't hold with it, and takes a deck from Jeb and gives it to Bret. Jeb produces a hidden bag of chips so they can play, and Enoch tells Bret to prove he's a good gambler.
Bret and Jeb play to demonstrate Bret's skill, and Bret wins. Enoch wonders how they'll get the Montgomerys to agree to an outsider representing them, and suggests that Bret call him "Bret Carteret" and they'll let the Montgomerys assume he's kin. Bret suggests that Juliet talk to Sonny to have him take the message to the Montgomerys and Enoch agrees.
Once the shooting dies down, the two families go to church during the weekly Sunday truce since no one fights on the Sabbath. Afterward, Juliet tells Sonny that they might be able to end the feud. Sonny's father Montague sees them together and Sonny says he should listen to the Carterets' offer. Montague agrees to listen but warns that the answer is no. Afterward, Juliet tells Enoch and Bret that the Montgomerys want three days to consider the offer and the truce will hold until then.
At noon on Tuesday, the Carterets wait for the Montgomerys' response. The Montgomerys fire three shots, signifying that they'll accept and then arrive. Sonny introduces their player: "Bart Montgomery". Bart and Bret aren't thrilled to see each other, but can't reveal they're not part of the respective clans without blowing their own cover. The brothers play while the families watch them, and they play for a couple of hours. The Mavericks take a break and Bret tells Enoch that he's losing but just making Bart overconfident. Mrs. Carteret brings out water for everyone, even the Montgomerys, and Bret asks Juliet to have Sonny tell Bart the situation that Bret is in.
Juliet tells Sonny, and then tells Bret that the Montgomerys have hired Bart and will pay him $5,000 if he wins. The Mavericks return to the table and Bret starts winning. Enoch figures that Bret is playing more like himself, while Montague warns that Bart isn't playing like himself.
The clock strikes 6, ending the game for the day. Bart tells Montague that he'll take all of Bret's chips in the morning and catch him off-guard in the morning.
That night, Montague sends Jody to sneak into Bart's room and steals his wallet. Jody brings the wallet to his father, who finds a letter from his brother Bret. They realize that Bret isn't a Cateret, and figure that Bart is throwing the game. Montague doesn't want to be known as a quitter and comes up with a plan.
The next day, Bart comes down and finds the Montgomerys training their guns on him. Bart insists that he didn't throw the game and denies having come up with a scheme. Montague tells him that he'll resume the game and even if he loses, they'll string him up as a cheat and a swindler. Bart warns that he can't guarantee a win, but Montague figures that they'll guarantee he doesn't deliberatelky lose.
The Montgomerys go back to the Cateret house, and Juliet and Sonny smile at each other and Juliet nods in agreement. After everyone else goes inside, Juliet meets Sonny at the well and they kiss. Sonny says that he has to tell her something.
Inside, Bart and Bret sit down to play. Juliet slips in and tells Bret that the Montgomerys know that the Mavericks are brothers. She wonders what they can do, and Bret comes up with an idea. Bret then accuses Bart of nicking a corner but then says the cards are all right. They play and alternate winning. Montague finally points out that they're even just like they started and demands a showdown. Enoch says that Montgomerys can't make demands in their house and demands a showdown. Ty suggests that they play on one hand of stud with five chips each: one chip on each card. Montague agrees as long as Bart does the dealing. Enoch asks Bret if he can be certain he'll win if Bart does the dealing, and Bret says that he can. Satisfied, Enoch says that they'll settle the matter on a Montgomery deal.
Bart deals and both Mavericks bet on the first two cards. They bet on the third card, with Bret showing the high card. Bret gets a pair of queens to Bret's pair of eights. With all five cards down, they both go in and Bart reveals two pair and wins, and Bret tosses in his hand without revealing it. As the Montgomerys celebrate, Bart checks Bret's hand and discovers that he could have won with the third queen.
Once the Montgomerys leave, Ty prepares to shoot it out with Bret. Enoch tells Bret that he let them down, and Mrs. Cateret notices that Juliet is gone. Bret suggests that Juliet is with Sonny, and points out that the feud is over. Ty tells Bret to draw, and gunshots ring out. As the Carterets go for cover, Bart rides up with a spare horse and rides off with Bret. Bret discovers that the Carterets cut his stirrups and falls out, and tells Bart that he was about to talk his way out of it.
The Carterets ride up and the Mavericks hide. Ty spots them and shoots at them, and they figure it's a Montgomery trick. Bart puts up a white flag to surrender, and Ty tells Bret that they're going to have it out. Enoch says that the escape could have been a trap and they'll take the Mavericks back.
Back at the house, the Carterets aren't interested in hearing Bret's explanation. Sonny and Juliet ride up and Ty grabs Sonny. Juliet tells Enoch to stop Ty from attacking her husband, and explains that they came from the preacher. Bret warns Enoch that the whole country will know how the Carterets broke their word. Bart says that he rescued Bret because they wouldn't listen to Bret. Bret tells them that he promised to settle the feud so the land stays in their family. Sonny is the oldest son and will get it, so his children will get it and Enoch's grandchildren will have the land. A relieved Mrs. Carteret overrides Ty's objections, saying that no one is going to say the Carterets don't keep their words. Enoch agrees with his wife and Ty complains about the many trick and goes inside.
Bret thanks Mrs. Carteret with her support, and says that he gave her something she could. She figures that Ty might have killed Bret and she'd be okay with that... and maybe Bret might have killed Ty.
As the Mavericks ride off, Bret admits that he's surprised at Bart's brotherly concern. Bart points out that Bret threw the game, and Bret says that he did it to save his life... and Bret was the one being paid. he wants his share and Bart pays him half. Bret takes the whole thing since he won, and rides off with Bart in pursuit.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 10, 2019