Hayden is wrongfully accused of being part of a guerrilla gang during the Civil War, and is sent to New Mexico's Hellgate Prison. Bond, the warden, holds a grudge against guerrillas because his family was wiped out by a band of them. He puts Hayden through numerous cruelties to force him
to attempt an escape. The warden wants to kill the alleged guerrilla legitimately. Hayden does escape, isn't killed, but is recaptured, and then helps stop an epidemic from spreading through the prison. This changes Bond's opinion of the prisoner and he helps Hayden get a pardon.