Emmett Ryker is summoned to Medicine Bow by John Hagen to stop Ed Hale from completing a cattle drive and paying a mortgage owed to Hagen. Ryker, however, always works on the side of the law and turns down the job. Hale is killed anyway and everyone assumes Ryker did it. When Ryker learns this, he decides to help Hale's daughter Janet and Trampas who has been seeing Janet frequently and was asked by her father to help with the drive. He deals himself in by cutting cards with her for half the ranch and wins. Hagen calls in Sam Lake who has a similar reputation to Ryker's but unknown to Hagen Lake and Ryker are close friends. Lake sides with Ryker and the two overpower Hagen's men sent to stampede the herd. When Lake is killed by Hagen's man, Ryker comes after Hagen. In the end of course The Virginian trumps both Trampas and Ryker, the new deputy, when it comes to women.