Albert "Lat" Evans (Don Murray) is a cowboy who dreams of becoming rich and successful. He becomes friendly with ranch hand Tom, and the two hunt wolves. After this ends badly, Lat borrows money from Callie (Lee Remick), a local woman who has feelings for him. Gradually, Lat becomes a successful rancher, ultimately forsaking Callie and Tom to marry Joyce, a banker's daughter. As Lat moves into politics, he must decide whether or not to ally himself with the devious Jehu (Richard Egan).