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romantický / western, USA, , 90 min.

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A drama of undying love
In 1861, William Cantrell, a schoolteacher with a burning ambition to become a leader of men, becomes embittered when he is defeated for the post of marshall of Lawrence, Kansas by Bob Seton, an unlettered but honest cowboy. Despite his mother's pleas to remain honest, Will decides to build his empire on the clandestine running of guns and slaves among neighboring states. His mother, who insists on posing as his housekeeper so that no one will know that he comes from a family in which his father and brother were criminals, warns Will against giving in to his "bad blood," but Will refuses to listen. Will and Bob are both in love with Mary McCloud, the feisty daughter of town banker Angus McCloud, who is a Southern sympathizer. When Mary's wild, younger brother Fletch accidently kills a man who is saying insulting things about their father, Bob reluctantly arrests him. Fletch, who had previously hero-worshiped Bob, now turns against him. Mary pleads with Bob to let her brother go, and even offers to become his wife if he will release Fletch. Bob knows that it is his duty to make Fletch stand trial, however, and refuses her offer. Realizing that he may finally be able to win Mary's love, Will defends Bob at his trial during the day and at night rides with his guerillas to terrorize each jury member into voting for an acquittal. His tactics with the jury work and Fletch is soon found not guilty and released. When the Civil War breaks out, Will's men, in the guise of Confederate soldiers, begin a campaign of looting and pillaging. As Will becomes richer and more powerful, people begin to suspect him, especially as Lawrence is the only town that seems to have been free from the raids. While the war continues, sympathizers for the North and South become more and more divided in Lawrence. Because Mary's father is a strong supporter of the South, many of the townspeople turn against him and start a run on his bank. McCloud stands up to the crowd in his bank, but soon violence erupts and he is killed. Now feeling very alone and believing that Will is not only a good friend but a good Southern soldier, Mary finally agrees to marry him. Right after their marriage, Will leaves Mary to rejoin his men, whom Mary thinks are part of the Confederate army. Soon everyone but Mary knows what Will is and the town begins to hate her. Bob decides to resign his job and leave Lawrence because he is disgusted by recriminations against Mary, then comes to her aid upon learning that a crowd is planning to run her out of town for the crimes of her husband. Bob begs her to leave Will, but she still refuses to believe the stories of her husband's spoils and insists that he take her to Will's camp. Before they reach the camp, Bob asks Mary to leave Will and come to Texas with him, but she refuses to be disloyal to Will, even though she now realizes that she loves Bob. At the camp, Mary sees that Will's "soldiers" are actually an unruly band of outlaws, and when she sees that Will is living in splendor, she knows that the stories about him have been true. When she and Fletch, who earlier had idealistically joined Will's men, learn that Will has ordered Bob arrested and sentenced to death, they realize that they must save him. Hearing that Lawrence is the next stop on Will's dark command, Fletch helps Bob escape and they ride to town to warn everyone. As Lawrence is consumed in the guerilla's flames, Will's mother is killed while trying to stop her son and Will is shot by Bob.
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