Drifter Reason Conant is sheltering in a cave from a fierce midwinter storm when a stranger bursts in on him, and Reason kills him in self-defence. Then he finds that the man's horse has a bullet wound, his saddlebags contain a large amount of money but no provisions, and his canteen is filled with sand - someone had evidently not wanted the man to survive out in the wild.
Reason's hunch that trouble is close by proves true when he is captured by Sheriff Kramer and his posse, and is accused of murdering the local newspaper editor. However, the newspaperman's daughter Annie suspects that all is not what it seems when she finds evidence that her father had been about to reveal corruption among local officials - including Sheriff Kramer. And in the mean time, Reason Conant is about to be hanged for a murder he did not commit.
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