In rough-and-tumble Wyoming territory, the law caters to powerful ranchers like Henry Ballard (L.Q. Jones); in fact, to all extents and purposes, he is
the law. When horse breeder and trader Myrl Redding (John Cusack) signs a statehood petition, Ballard retaliates by charging Redding for travel privileges through his land. Unable to pay in full, Redding leaves two horses for collateral, but upon his return from a horse auction, Redding discovers Ballard's men have abused his steeds. Demanding that Ballard restore the animals to health, Redding is appalled when his lawsuit is dismissed by Judge Wilkins (Ken Pogue), a Ballard loyalist. When Redding's wife is kil...