Wyoming is on the brink of statehood. Leading the charge is Jefferson Parker, the richest cattle baron in the territory. Backed by the Cattlemen's Association, Parker knows that the quickest way to achieve the goal of statehood is through the cattle business. Standing in Parker's way is a group of farmers who, by their very existence, threaten the open range and the way to statehood. So Parker offers to buy out all the farmers in the territory. His offer is rebuked. Leading the farmers is the Johansen family. James Johansen, his wife Sarah and their young son Seth are determined to make a go of their small farm. James bands the farmers into a unified group and they hold off Parker and his allies. Until the mysterious gunfighter Cord arrives in town, hired by none other than Parker. Cord's assignment is to help Parker broker a deal with the farmers to buy out their land. Cord is as persuasive with words as he is with a gun, and the deal might have worked except for Parker's hotheaded son who interferes and forces Cord to kill him. Thus begins the range war. Farmers on one side, Parker on the other, Cord caught in the middle.