While attempting to deliver a golden owl to its wealthy purchaser, Hardy is attacked and the owl is replaced by one of lead while a Chinese religious society claims the owl was stolen from their temple in China.
So that a railroad section through the Dakota Black Hills can be completed, Hardie arrives to negotiate with the Pawnees who have killed a crew's hunter consigning the crew to meager rations and who continually harass the crew.
Jack Kramer soon to be executed asks Hardy to help his son change his evil tendency in exchange for stolen Wells Fargo gold so Hardy takes the son from an orphanage placing him with a family but Kramer's murderous partner follows.
Jim Hardie brings a gold shipment into an Army fort under Indian attack. The only commander left alive, a green Lieutenant, is uncertain of his command and doubted by his men. Jim believes helping him will pay off when his true character comes out.