Bret is riding cross-country and spots a stagecoach passing.
Sam Harris and his partner Matson make camp, and Mart and his two brothers Wes and Rip sneak up on them. Sam hears them and invites them to come down, and they draw guns on each other. Mart says that Sam knows what he wants, and Sam tells him that he's been leading him away from the claim. The Fallons tell Sam to take them to the claim, and Sam points out that he has a double-barreled shotgun and can hit all three of them. He orders them to ride off, and Mart says that they don't want to kill him and they just want a share of the claim. Sam insists that he found it and is going to keep it. Wes counts to three and shoots Sam when he tries to aim.
The Fallons prepare to kill Matson when he says that Sam was taking him to the mine and he doesn't know where it is. He says that there's someone coming in on the stage that knows everything Sam did, and Mart tells him that they'll let him live if he can get them to the mine. As they leave for the stage depot, Sam stirs.
Four days later, the Fallons arrive at the Packsaddle Stage Depot, and Mart talks to Rip outside. He tells Rip to come inside in a minute and claim that the stage is coming. Inside, the passenger agent Simmons is tending to the bar. Mart sits down with Wes and Matson, and a minute later Rip comes in and claims the stage is coming. Simmons notes that they're early today and goes to get the horses ready. Mart orders Matson to tell them which passenger they're looking for, and Matson wonders why they should keep him alive. Wes draws a knife on Matson, and Mart says that they wouldn't take a chance on killing Matson when the stage is coming. Matson tells the Fallons that Sam sent a map of the claim to his wife Linda, and Mart orders him to go before the stage gets there. As Matson goes to the door, Wes throws a knife in his back. Rip is angry that Wes killed another man, and Mart says that Matson could have warned the authorities.
As Mart and Wes prepare to toss the body in a nearby canyon, they hear Bret rides up. Bret saddles his horse and comes inside, unaware that the Fallons have propped Matson's body up in a chair. Mart comes over and asks Bret if they can help him. Bret isn't interested in chatting, and Simmons comes in and figures that Bret and the others are waiting for the stage.
The stagecoach arrives and the passengers go in to eat. The driver tells Simmons that he drove the horse because they're in Indian territory, but Simmons insists that there aren't any Indians in the area. The passengers eat and Mart comes over, posing as Matson and identifying Linda because she's the only young woman there. He claims that Sam is at the mine protecting it from the local Indians, and Bret overhears him talking. Linda says that Sam wrote that he's the only one who knows where the mine is, and Mart claims that Sam wants her to take him to the mine using the map Sam sent her. Linda says that she'll wait for a while in case Sam changes her mind.
The other three passengers eat Simmons' food, and the older woman Ella Taylor faints when Simmons tells her that she's eating rattlesnake meat. As Ella's husband Dare tends to her, the third passenger McLean comes over and asks about Matson. Mart claims that he's asleep and sends McLean away when he tries to wake Matson up.
The stage leaves with McLean and the Taylors, and the Indians watch.
Bret introduces himself to Linda. When Mart comes over and says that Linda is with him, Bret says that he found Sam two days ago, dying. He couldn't save Sam's life and buried him, and he kept silent to let the Fallons play out their hand. Mart asks if Linda is going to trust Bret's word over Sam's "partner", and Bret tells Linda to see if Matson is alive. Linda goes over and confirms that the real Matson is dead, and Bret drives on Mart. Wes says that he and Rip have Bret covered, and Bret reluctantly sets his gun on the counter.
Simmons comes in and Rip holds him at gunpoint, taking his gun. Mart has Bret hide Matson's body behind the bar, and tells Linda that Sam forced them to shoot him. He says that the mine is on Indian land and they want it, and orders Linda to give them the map. Linda says that she left her luggage on the stage, and Mart sends Rip to get the luggage. Mart figures that Sam told Bret where the map is, and orders Bret to strip so they can search him. Simmons explains that everyone heard about the mine when Sam brought a sample in. As he removes his clothing, Bret says that the Fallons won't need any of them if they get the map.
The Indians attack the stage. The driver tries to outrun them and the stage overturns.
Rip rides back to the depot and tells his father that when he found the stage, the Indians had burned it. Simmons suggests that the Indians are heading for the Fallons' ranch with a thousand heads, and Bret wonders why they need a mine when they have a big spread. Rip angrily says that everyone thinks that the Fallons are dirt, and Bret points out that Indians might go after the herd while the Fallons are gone. Rip and Wes argue, and Mart tells them not to fight. Wes wants to kill Bret, but Bret points out that he's the only one who knows where the mine is. He refuses to cooperate if they hurt Linda or Simmons. Bret refuses to take them to the mine unless they let Linda and Simmons go first. Mart tells Wes to shoot Bret in the arm to convince him.
Before Wes can shoot, the Indians attack the depot. Everyone takes cover, and Rip and Wes open fire. The Indians shoot back and Bret suggests that they give him a gun to help. Mart refuses and opens fire with his sons, and Wes figures that the Indians are after something specific. Meanwhile, Linda thanks Bret for his help. He points out that she isn't grief-stricken, and Linda says that she lost Sam to gold fever four years ago. They have a son Timmy who is in Boston with her mother-in-law.
The Indians stop shooting and wave a white flag. Their leader tells the Fallons to send out Bret. Bret tells Mart that they think he found gold and he dropped nuggets to slow them down. He says that he had to kill two Indians to get out, and Mart figures that they were looking for Bret and he knew it. Bret figures that Mart won't send him out because he's the only who knows where the mine is.
Mart yells to the Indians that they can't have Bret, and the leader promises that they'll kill all of them. Wes warns that the next sage just might turn around, and the Indians open fire. Simmons motions to a stuffed owl on the mantle, and Bret spots a gun hidden there. Mart finally orders Bret at gunpoint to go out, and then they dump a corpse in Bret's coat out in front of the depot. The Indians ride over, tie a rope to the corpse's legs, and ride off dragging the body
Inside the depot, Bret puts on his clothes and grabs the hidden gun. He aims it at the Fallons and when Wes goes for his gun, Bret shoots him in the arm. Simmons collects the Fallons' gun and Bret tells Linda and Simmons to sit down. Once they do, Bret has Rip get the map that he hid behind the bar. He offers to sell it to the Fallons for $15,000 cash. Mart wonders why so little, and Bret tells him that he doesn't want to go back to Indian country. Bret figures that Mart has $15,000 at his ranch and he can send one of his brothers to get it. Mart writes down the combination for the safe, and secretly says to bring back plenty of help. He gives it to Wes, but Bret checks the paper and has Mart write the combination and have Wes forget the first note. Mart tells Wes to just bring back the money and Wes leaves.
Bret takes the map from Rip and Simmons confirms that the next stage will be along in two hours. Linda isn't thrilled with Bret, saying that Sam died for his son. Bret figures that Sam wanted the mine to go to his son because he was dying. Mart points out that it's a two-hour ride to the ranch, and Bret figures that the stage will head back to the previous town once they spot the burned coach. Mart is impressed with his thinking and suggests that he partner with the Fallons. Bret figures that he'd get a bullet in the back, and says that Rip might have turned out all right without his father and brother. Mart tells Bret that he can't split them up.
Wes finally returns late, and Bret takes the gun he has hidden on him, and has him sit down. He has Linda count the money and she makes sure that it's all there, and Bret gives the map to Mart. Bret then has Simmons release the horses five miles out to buy him time to escape. Wes secretly nods to Mart and reveals that he has two guns hidden in his boot. Wes and Mart grabs the guns, and Rip yells a warning to Bret and grabs Wes' arm, giving Bret time to shoot Mart in the shoulder and kill Wes. Mart and Rip stare at Wes' corpse, and Mart blames Rip for Wes' death. Rip insists that he's never killed anyone, and Mart angrily tells him to stay away from him. He asks what happened to Rip when it was the three of them against everyone else, and Rip says that it was always Mart and Wes against everyone else. Bret lets Wes keep the map, figuring that it cost him more than he thought.
The stage arrives with Sheriff Tibbs and his posse. Tibbs arrests the remaining Fallons, and after Bret tells him what Rip did, the sheriff says that he'll show him every consideration. Simmons tells the sheriff that Bret sold the map to Wes, and Tibbs asks if Linda wants to back it up. Linda says that Bret had a right to do whatever he wants, and Bret tells Tibbs that he sold him a map, not a mine. Simmons angrily says that Bret was going to give the Fallons their horses, and Bret points out that the horses belonged to them and he figured Tibbs would send a posse so they wouldn't have gotten far. Tibbs points out that he can't arrest Bret for something he didn't do, and a disgusted Simmons figures the sheriff will give Bret a medal next.
Once Tibbs and his men leave with the prisoners, Bret tells Linda that the money is hers and gives it to her. He explains that Fallon wouldn't have gone through with the deal if he had told her earlier. Bret says that Sam struck a pocket of free gold and he realized it before he died, and figures that Fallon should have the claim since he was willing to kill for it. Linda tells Bret that she's almost sorry that she's going back, and they kiss as Simmons looks on, astonished. The woman gets into the stage and it leaves, and Bret gives Simmons a nugget as a souvenir before riding off.
Written by Gadfly on Jun 2, 2019