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A group of vicious claim-jumpers is killing the miners in a Western settlement. Their latest victim is Cromwell (Harry Harvey), who is shot to death at his mine just after his son Luke (Audie Murphy) leaves for town.
Luke has three passions in life -- poker, guns, and the silver ornamentation he likes -- and is better known to most people as the Silver Kid; he kills one of the claim-jumpers but can't catch the rest.
The marshal of Silver Creek, Lightning Tyrone (Stephen McNally), is also trying to cope with the claim-jumpers, and he has a problem of his own, thanks to a well-placed bullet in his shoulder -- he can still draw faster than almost anyone, but he can't pull the trigger like he used to, and he doesn't know how long he can bluff some of the tougher citizens he's been riding herd on, especially a fellow named Johnny Sombrero (Eugene Iglesias), who's been itching to draw on him.
These two cross paths and the Silver Kid ends up as Lightning's deputy, just in time to become suspicious of newcomers Opal Lacy (Faith Domergue) and her brother Rod (Gerald Mohr), who are in the mining business. Lighting's attraction to Opal and the Kid's distrust of her could just cost him the services of a deputy who is, literally, his good right arm.