Tad Rafferty wants to follow in the footsteps of his father and older brother. Too bad both of those trails lead straight to the gallows.


After his father was hung, Tad and his siblings Kat and Clay were left to raise themselves without adult supervision. Tad and Kat stayed close to home while Clay turned to a life of crime.

One dark night, Tad decided to respond to a cowboy's calls for help with gunshots. The cowboy took offense and made a visit to the cabin, surprised to find Kat and Tad there by themselves. The surprises continued when their older brother Clay arrived peppered by shots fired from the posse on his heels. When he got a chance, the cowboy knocked Clay out and brought Tad and Kat outside to safety.

On the invitation of the cowboy and prodding by his sister, Tad went to live at Tulliver's Livery Stable and work with the horses there, which was much to the boy's liking. He became friends with Herman Tulliver and the cowboy as the man investigated the death of his business partner.

At his brother's trial for murder, Tad was shocked when the cowboy took the stand and gave testimony that sealed his brother's fate. He planned on running away that night when Clay, who had just broke out of jail, found him and asked for a horse. The cowboy found them both and intervened. Clay was recaptured and scheduled to hang. Tad looked up to his lawless brother, vowing to follow in his footsteps.

Tad and Kat were watching the next day as the deputies led Clay to the noose. Faced with his violent fate, Clay broke down and begged to be spared. Tad wept at his brother's terror. The cowboy led Tad and Kat away from the sad scene. Tad finally learned that his brother's lawless life wasn't the life he wanted. Instead, he accepted an invitation to attend veterinary school.