Sheriff Chadbourne (Samuel Herrick) transports convict Ben Trask (Lloyd Bridges) to El Paso in a covered wagon. The wagon also carries sea captain Theodore Bess (Lee J. Cobb) and married couple Laura (Marie Windsor) and Jerry Niblett (Dean Train). The group comes upon a wounded Native American, banished by his tribe, who offers to lead them to gold. But then the tribe attacks the wagon, killing Jerry and wounding Chadbourne. Ben is freed to help, but the group's troubles have only begun.