Rowdy Shane is a bit of a loud-mouth, but he’s got his heart in the right place
As one of the top hands on the JA Ranch owned by Amarillo Ames, Rowdy is a hard-working, loyal employee. Ames plans to pick either Rowdy or Slim Mantell to take over the ranch one day. In the meantime, Rowdy has signed on with Ames for his first cattle drive.
What Rowdy doesn’t know is the ranch is in serious debt. Ames has to get his herd from Texas to Dodge City first to score both top price for the cattle and a bonus. He has faith that Rowdy and his men can put up with the rough treatment it will take to accomplish this goal.
The first hurdle in this plan nearly ruins the entire thing: Ames drowns during a river crossing. Sensing a power vacuum, Rowdy immediately steps in. Just as he gives his first order, a stranger named Cheyenne Bodie presents a wet, smeared note he claims was Amarillo's written directive that he is in charge. When Rowdy dismisses it, Bodie challenges him to a fight for leadership. Rowdy puts up a good effort, but the tall cowboy knocks him out and takes command.
Cheyenne proves to be a tough boss who works Rowdy and the men ragged. After enduring a lack of sleep, a stampede, a rustling attempt and another death in their ranks, Rowdy and the men stage a coup and quit. Cheyenne promises them all bonuses and encourages them at gunpoint to take the deal. Later, when Susan Ames joins them on the trail, she orders Rowdy to take charge. But he's tangled with Cheyenne once and isn't excited to try again.
The drive makes it into Dodge City first thanks to Cheyenne's leadership and Rowdy heads out to take in the town. Later, full of alcohol and juicy news, he interrupts Cheyenne eating dinner. He drunkenly tells the tall cowboy that his enemy Cliff Laverson is at the Longhorn Bar claiming to want a man-to-man showdown with Bodie for shooting his younger brother. Rowdy is an unwitting part of Laverson's plan though. He's got his brother and five other men in the Longhorn waiting to gun Cheyenne down.Rowdy leaves to find Susan Ames and collect his pay. While there, Susan tells him the the real story: Cheyenne drove Rowdy and the men so hard in order to collect the bonus money, save the JA Ranch from bankruptcy, and repay the Ames family due to a tragedy for which he blames himself.
Knowing the truth and the danger Cheyenne is in, Rowdy leads the JA men to the Longhorn. The others sneak into the back of the bar while Rowdy knocks out the man holding Bodie prisoner at the front door and gives Cheyenne a gun. An intense firefight starts between the JA men, the rustlers and the Laversons. But, with the element of surprise on their side, Rowdy and the JA hands take out the bad guys with only minor injuries.
Later, Rowdy joins Susan and the others for the ride back to Texas. As they ride out of town, Cheyenne calls out to them and is welcomed back for the ride home.
Hal Baylor plays several characters in the Cheyenne series, notably: