Cheyenne tries to convince a young man to quit a gang of criminals by pretending to be his long-lost father.

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After 10 years, bandit and gunfighter Wes McQueen is out of prison on condition that he tells the government where he stashed $30,000 from a robbery. McQueen is willing to do this, but only if the government will send one man he trusts to go with him, Cheyenne Bodie.


Ten Cents Harmon tells McQueen he'll be back to bank robbing in no time.

Before they leave to find the money, McQueen has a secret meeting with an old friend named Ten Cents Harmon. The elderly bandit invites McQueen to go on a heist with him but McQueen refuses. His only goal is to reunite with Billy, the son left behind when he went to jail. Ten Cents says Billy is hiding in Cochillo Canyon with his gang, waiting for instructions for the next robbery.

As McQueen and Bodie leave to find the money, McQueen's past catches up with him. Old enemies ambush them on the trail and he takes a bullet to the chest. With his dying breath, he begs Cheyenne to find his son and take him away from Harmon's gang. Cheyenne asks him about the money. McQueen says Billy knows where it is. But does he, or is McQueen just tricking Bodie into rescuing his son?

Brutish Duke and the rest of Harmon's gang are drinking away the hours in an abandoned village. Cheyenne appears in the doorway demanding to know where Billy is. Assuming he is McQueen, Duke expresses his dislike that the gunfighter is joining them. Cheyenne says he doesn’t intend to join anything. But when the 16-year-old arrives, Billy has no kind words for the man who claims to be his father.


Duke pushes Billy into drawing on him.

Using their assumption that he is McQueen, Cheyenne gently encourages Billy to leave the gang. The boy isn't interested. He thinks McQueen's reputation as a gunslinger is a myth. In his opinion, Duke and the other roughnecks are real men. Cheyenne goes the tough love route; he grabs Billy by the arm and drills into him that he’s headed for an early grave unless he leaves with his "father" right now. This only makes Billy more angry and he runs off.

As Cheyenne beds down for the night he’s visited by Clovis, the blond girl that Duke had his hands all over. An orphan, Duke kidnapped Clovis and she’s been his plaything ever since. She’s desperate to escape, but she has no where to go in this desert. Duke enters and demands his property back. Disgusted, Cheyenne makes it clear that he won't follow any of Duke’s orders. Duke promises that he will settle things with Cheyenne soon and leaves. The tall cowboy offers Clovis a blanket and a place by his fire to sleep. She is amazed that Cheyenne doesn’t want any favors in return.


Clovis is Duke's plaything at the gang's hideout.

Duke has had enough. Cheyenne is openly defying him, the other men are laughing at him, and now Cheyenne has his girl. He wants the man gone, but doesn’t want to risk his own skin to do it. The next day, he goads the angry, conflicted Billy into drawing his gun on his father. With the quickest draw Billy’s ever seen, Cheyenne shoots the gun from his hand and knocks Duke out in a fist fight, despite Duke’s dirty fighting.

Cheyenne lives up to the McQueen reputation as a gunslinger and fighter, and then some! Billy is in awe, but he can’t figure it out. The boy asks him: with all his strengths, why he didn’t break out of prison? Bodie stresses that violence will only lead to an early grave. To prove the point, the groggy Duke grabs a gun and shoots Cheyenne in the shoulder. The cowboy fires back and kills him.


Clovis and Billy wrap up Cheyenne's bullet wound.

Clovis and Billy bandage Cheyenne up. He suggests they all leave immediately to find the money that will clear the McQueen name. Billy has a guess where it might be based on a childhood memory.

Just then circumstances and Ten Cents catch up with them. After Billy’s surrogate father exposes his fake father as an agent for the Pinkertons, Cheyenne tells Billy the truth about McQueen's death. The boy is furious that Cheyenne lied to him. Ten Cents has Cheyenne strung up barefooted over a fire intending to burn his heels off to learn the location of the money.

Watching gentle Cheyenne be tortured is too much for Billy and Clovis. Billy shoots the rope down as Clovis wrestles with her captor. Cheyenne gets his hands on a pistol and they hold the gang at gunpoint. Finally free of Harmon's gang, Billy and Clovis ride away with Cheyenne to find the money and set things right.


"If you had a son, how far would you go to keep him out of trouble?"
"How far's the moon?"

- McQueen and Cheyenne talk about parenting.

"A gun means you'll live longer or shorter. It's not a badge of honor."

- Cheyenne tries to tell Billy the truth about the life of a gunslinger.

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