A young man has to chose between following honor with the Army or following his heart and his horse.
Tom Wayne and Cheyenne see their battle against the Comanche as nearly hopeless.
Cheyenne tells Jed Wayne that his horse Glory is going to be put down in the morning.
Colonel Donovan and Cheyenne disagree on orders for the removal of the Comanche.
Sergeant Tom Wayne is fighting a desperate battle on the banks of the Verde River with a small force against Comanche Indians. Wayne puts into action a plan to lure in the attacking indians. His civilian scout Cheyenne Bode recognizes the plan as a suicide mission and offers to take his place. Wayne orders Cheyenne back, but makes a request: find his son and encourage him to follow in his father's footsteps as a soldier. During the next attack, Wayne shoots a powder keg and is caught in the enormous explosion. His sacrifice gives his men a chance to escape.After he’s recovered from his battle wounds, Cheyenne is on the trail to honor Wayne's last wish. He finds the restless young Jed Wayne locked up for rowdy behavior and bails him out. Jed follows Bodie to Fort Sumner to enlist but gets a rocky start when he learns that he can't keep his horse, Glory. From outward appearance, Glory is a less than impressive animal but Jed has a blind love for the horse given to him by his father. Within the first hour of his enlistment, that love leads him to insult the fort commander's daughter, get into a fistfight with fellow soldiers and try to quit the Army.
Cheyenne can’t babysit Wayne forever. He’s under orders to help fort commander Colonel Ralph Donovan negotiate a peace treaty with the Comanche. However, Donovan has received new orders to relocate the indians south into desert country. Bodie objects to these harsh orders but the Colonel doesn’t care. He sees the Comanche as witless savages.
At the assembly the next day, Jed is trying to keep up with the other soldiers but Glory just isn’t up to it. Upon closer look, Jed sees that Glory has a bowed tendon. Donovan orders him destroyed. The Army doesn’t have time to nurse a sick horse back to health. That night, Jed slips away with Glory into Comanche territory. Donovan wants to post Jed as a deserter, but grants Cheyenne's request to find him.Out in the wild, Jed runs into Little Elk, the chief of the Comanche tribe, who is impressed with Jed’s devotion to Glory. Cheyenne tracks Jed down, but Little Elk tells him that Jed has safe harbor among his people. Jed agrees to return to the fort with Cheyenne and Little Elk’s peace delegation. While they are on the way, Little Elk’s son Yellow Lance defies his father, declares war on the white settlers and attacks a wagon train. Donovan blames Little Elk for his son’s actions and when they arrive throws the delegation into jail.
The soldiers at Fort Sumner prepare for siege and evacuate the settlers, but Yellow Lance attacks the evacuees and kidnaps both Cheyenne and Donovan’s daughter Kathy. When news reaches Fort Sumner, the Colonel vows to hang Little Elk unless his daughter is returned safely.
Yellow Lance makes plans to return Kathy under a false flag of truce and then attack the fort. After the war party leaves the Comanche camp, Little Elk’s daughter Latoma releases Cheyenne to save him from Yellow Lance’s death sentence. Cheyenne needs to get to the fort to warn them but the only horse available is Glory. With no other choice, Cheyenne mounts and rides the horse hard through the night. They make it to Fort Sumner in time but the 100-mile ride was too much for the horse. He falls over and dies in Jed’s arms. Cheyenne consoles Jed saying that Glory came through when he was needed most.
Yellow Lance appears outside the walls with Kathy. Conflicted between being a father and a soldier, Donovan orders the fort gate closed and refuses any trade with the hostiles. A war appears unavoidable until Little Elk offers to negotiate a truce and Donovan agrees. The chief meets his son outside, but Yellow Lance considers his father too weak to be leader and tries to spear him. Cheyenne deflects his blow. The renegade Comanche turns his spear on Bodie, pushing the big cowboy into the dirt. Cheyenne avoids Yellow Lance’s thrusts, grabs a spear and sends it flying into the man's gut, bringing his rebellion to an end.
Now seeing Little Elk as a fellow father and his people as allies, Donovan decides to advocate for the rights of the Comanche to stay on their land.
"It'll take more than a friend to replace a boy's father."
- - Cheyenne isn't a fan of Tom Wayne's plan to sacrifice himself to save his men.
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