John Wayne is good guy Bob Seton in Raoul Walsh's star-studded thriller set in the dark days before the Civil War. During this strained period in America's history, emotions run high and tension fills the air, especially during political contests. In the race for Fedral Marshall of Kansas, Seton defeats William Cantrell (Walter Pidgeon), causing increased animosity between these two powerful figures. Their mutual ill will peaks when Cantrell steals Seton's girl (Claire Trevor), manipulating her into marriage to get even with Seton. Their rivalry reaches dangerous proportions when Seton exposes Cantrell and his guerrillas who have been raiding both Union and Confederate lines. Roy Rogers co-stars in one of his earliest film roles.