The Virginian and crew must hire extra hands to drive cattle back to Medicine Bow due to a bridge out on the train route. One of the men hired, Eddie Laredo saves Trampas's life during a stampede. Eddie seems to be a quiet worker who does his job well so Trampas convinces The Virginian to hire him full time. Everyone is happy with his work but he is not a joiner and reads a lot. During a trip to Medicine Bow two men and a women hide burrs under Eddie's saddle resulting in him being bucked off on Main Street. Later one of the men is killed by Eddie with the woman as a witness but he is let go. Later the woman is found dead and Trampas swears he saw Eddie in town that night. When Trampas finds the shirt he saw Eddie wearing with blood on it, Eddie shoots Trampas. After Eddie is arrested, he says he remembers nothing of either incident but is sorry about Trampas. The community and prosecutor assume Eddie is guilty but Judge Garth feels there may be another factor. He suggests the idea ...