Tom Brannan, 27, turns his herd west across Texas to the Staked Plains but without his wife, Beth. Her refusal to join him drives him into kidnaping their son. Safely arrived, Brannan finds opposition to his settling, makes his play for power and almost wins his gamble. But Beth, taking advantage of natural disasters, drives him away, gets the boy and the herd, and Brannan begins again. Rangy.