Ben Calhoun sells a herd of horses, uses the proceeds to get into a poker game, and wins the BPS&D railroad. He learns the railroad is broke but is determined to lay tracks to Scalplock while a disgruntled partner tries to stop him.
Calhoun's attempts s to acquire a right of way from a said to be merciless woman killer are complicated by the woman's demand for marriage as payment and the plans of a ruthless saloon owner to out maneuver him.
Calhoun's plans to obtain a right of way through the town of Paradise are jeopardized by four Confederate former comrades-in-arms he has hired. The men's rowdy behavior and total disregard for law has Tarrant advising they be fired, but Calhoun feels too obligated to the leader of the group.
Calhoun decides to go into the rugged Apache country hills for a fight to the death against Cougar Man, an Apache who has killed five of Calhoun's men, and who believes himself cursed to kill as many men as possible until he himself is killed.
Calhoun must transport an Army unit which has captured the renegade Sioux chief War Cloud and is bringing him to stand trial for numerous murders. This comes at a bad time for Calhoun, as he is hoping to impress another passenger, a wealthy banker whom he hopes will agree to a loan for the railroad. The banker's daughter believes War Cloud is being mistreated. But a man who lost his family in one of War Cloud's raids plans to make sure the Indian dies long before he arrives at the fort, and is willing to fight Calhoun to make sure of it.
Calhoun arrives in a small town to attend the wedding of an old friend. But he can find no trace of the man, and everyone in town just wants Calhoun to either leave or be killed, including the town boss, the father of the girl who was supposed to marry Calhoun's friend.
After Dave is captured and forced to work in a town of outlaw forced laborers, Calhoun decides to infiltrate it in the hopes of getting him out, though he might not get out himself if his cover is blown.
After a boiler on the train blows, Calhoun offers to refund all the passengers, but a headstrong woman is determined to continue on as planned to the mine her grandfather left to her. Rather than let her go alone, Dave accompanies her, but on the way they learn that others are just as determined to stop her from arriving in time to sign the deed---even though the mine does not have the gold or silver the grandfather thought it had.
Calhoun learns from Dave and Barnabas that all of the railroad's crew has been lured away by the promise of gold from a nearby mine. Actually, it is all part of a plot to lure Calhoun away in the hope of stealing the railroad.
After Calhoun rescues a headstrong young Indian woman from two buffalo hunters who were abusing her, he asks her to be his scout through dangerous terrain on his way to meet with a Sioux chief. She agrees, until she learns that he plans to negotiate putting the railroad through Sioux territory.
Ben Calhoun buys a railroad in a poker game, but finds himself challenged by his ex-partner, who after being humiliated in a fight is willing to kill to destroy Ben's dreams. Adapted, and changed somewhat, from the longer "Rail Runs West".