Perhaps being dispossessed crosses cultures and makes men, men.
Jeffords is having problems keeping outsiders out of the Apache Territory. Jeffords comes across a man digging for gold, and warns him to stay off the Apache reservation. But in his wandering, Michael Shawn comes upon a vein of gold above ground; he is surrounded and taken by Apache braves who take him to Cochise. But Michael Shawn doesn't see that line; he sees gold and the means to bring his wife and son to America.
Because of the counsel given by Burning Arrow, Cochise wants the man tried by Apaches. If white men learn of the yellow iron; then the Apache will lose their land again. Shawn says he would never tell. He knows too well how a people can be forced off their land. Shawn is allowed to go on the promise, that as an Irishman, he knows what it is like to see people dispossessed. Cochise even sends Tokumo to give Shawn enough gold to bring his wife and son from Ireland to America. But Judd Buckley sees Shawn pay for the tickets; and he takes the young brave who brought the gold.
Buckley is indeed one of the men the Apache fear. He sees gold, not people nor treaties. He tortures Tokumo, then decides to try the Irishman. Shawn is on a stagecoach heading East, when he's pulled off by soldiers who accuse Shawn of selling rifles to the Indians. Buckley is passing himself off as a federal agent investigating the gold used to purchase the tickets. Shawn was known to have been on the Apache Reservation; he had to have sold them something for the gold he has. Shawn tells Buckley the story because Shawn believes Buckley is a government man. But a fellow traveler tells Shawn Buckley isn't working for the government; his men aren't soldiersthey are his gang. With the information he now has, Shawn gets off the stage. Tokumo, the Indian is no longer needed and is shot by Buckley and left for dead. Tokumo makes it to Jeffords;before he dies from the effort he says the Irishman talked.
Jeffords takes the body to Cochise. Jeffords says Cochise was right; Shawn betrayed them. Cochise says he will go to war, but gunshots interrupt the men. Shawn has caught up with Buckley and is determined to be an army of one and kill Buckley and his entire gang. He succeeds; one man almost escapes, but is brought down by an arrow shot by Burning Arrow. Shawn explains what happened but is taken by Cochise.
Cochise puts Shawn back on a stage to get his family. Even Burning Arrow shakes the hand of Michael Shawn, a true friend to the Apache.
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