In the territory of New Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century, Jeb Rand hides from his pursuers in an abandoned house. He tells Thor Callum, who has brought him food and water, that while hiding there, he has recalled events that may explain what has gone wrong with his life: As a child of four, Jeb is rescued from the same house by Ma Callum, who takes him and her own children, Thor, who is three, and Adam, who is the same age as Jeb, away from the area. As he grows, Jeb is troubled by indistinct and frightening memories of the events before Ma took him in. One day, when Jeb is eleven, his horse is shot out from under him. Jeb believes that Adam is responsible, and the two boys fight about it. When Ma learns what happened, she confronts Grant Callum, her brother-in-law, who, unknown to Jeb is the man who shot his horse. Although Grant has vowed to avenge his brother's murder, he eventually agrees to return to Santa Fe, convinced that Jeb will turn Ma against him by his very nature. When Ma returns home, she advises Jeb to forget the past and love his new family, but despite her wishes, his memories continue to haunt him. Several years later, when the territory declares war against Spain, Grant tries to coerce Jeb into joining the army, in hopes that he will be killed. Later, when a toss of the coin determines that Jeb, not Adam, will fight, Jeb does sign up but returns a hero. Grant then turns Adam against Jeb. Angered by Jeb's lack of interest in the farm, Adam offers to buy him out, but another toss of the coin sends Jeb away with nothing. When Jeb promises Thor that he will return for her, Adam insists that he will never let her marry Jeb. Thor makes it clear that she will marry Jeb without his blessing, however, and Adam rides after Jeb, intending to kill him. Instead, Jeb kills Adam in self-defense but, despite the findings of a jury, Ma and Thor believe he is guilty of murder. Jeb then becomes a partner in Jake Dingle's saloon. At a dance, which Thor attends with the mild-mannered Prentice, Jeb forces her to dance with him. Grant witnesses this and pressures Prentice to avenge the imagined insult to Thor. In the ensuing gunfight, Prentice is killed. Jeb is again acquitted and begins to court Thor. Although she now hates Jeb, Thor agrees to marry him, intending to kill him on their wedding night. She cannot go through with her plans, however, and realizes that she still loves Jeb. Summoned by Grant, the Callums descend on Jeb and Thor's house. After arranging to meet Thor at the old house, Jeb eludes his pursuers. Soon after Jeb finishes his story, the Callums and Ma arrive at his hideout and a shootout ensues. It was a similar fight that killed Jeb's entire family, and he now remembers Grant forcing Ma to "look at your Rand," in punishment for her affair with his father. Outnumbered, Jeb surrenders. Before Grant can hang Jeb, however, Ma shoots him and apologizes to Jeb for believing that they could forget the past. The way is now cleared for Jeb and Thor to live together in peace.