Hopper plays a young malcontent who has goaded a respected Hispanic into a fatal gun battle in the new state of California in the year 1848. His jury trial is watched with great interest by the largely Spanish-speaking citizens of the new state, who consider it to be a test of the Anglo
system of justice. When a guilty verdict is reached, the judge (O'Herlihy) faces a difficult sentencing task. He gives the gunman a 20-year suspended sentence, provided that Hopper agree never to wear a weapon again. The disgruntled youth then grabs a gun from deputy marshal Ketchum and challenges
the sheriff, Wayne, to a duel. Wayne kills Hopper, rendering the entire test case moot...