Mike McLean is on the run after robbing a bank--this isn't something he normally does, but he made an unwise decision after the bank foreclosed on his ranch.
Now he's found his way into a valley where small ranchers are trapped on one side by gunmen working for a big Eastern-owned ranch. And trapped on the other side by an oulaw gang.
McLean agrees to organize a cattle drive for the ranchers in exchange for a share of the profits. He has a good plan for getting the cattle out of the valley, but unexpected events literally turn everything against him. The cattle are scattered, he loses the trust of his new friends, a sheriff shows up with a warrant and--to top it all off--he finds himself locked in a pitch-dark blacksmith shop and obligated to fight a blind knife duel.
It's a great plot with unuusal twists and turns, especially towards the end when it appears his only hope of survival is to turn outlaw and agree to commit a murder. That ending includes several successive gun battles that keep the action moving swiftly, as well as an unexpected act of self-sacrifice by a supporting character that just might give Mike a chance to live.