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Near the Mexican border, U.S. Marshal Johnny Mack Brown and his deputy, Sandy Barrett, are investigating the theft of government gold from Mexico when they hear a gunshot and see a wagon careening out of control. They save the riders, wounded local editor Joe Martin and his daughter Kathy, and, claiming not to know each other, accompany them into the town of Latigo City. Once there, Joe seeks out the sheriff, while Kathy persuades Sandy to work at their newspaper printing press. Joe sees that no one is at the sheriff's office and as he turns to leave, he is shot by Bull Jackson, a gunman hiding across the street. Johnny, who is riding by, shoots at Jackson, who then points to Johnny's still-smoking gun when the townspeople gather and blames Johnny for Joe's murder. The sheriff takes Johnny to the jail but, once there, Johnny shows his badge and is released. Johnny immediately finds Jackson in the local saloon and beats him up, after which Jackson tells his boss, Roger Bigsby, Joe's crooked partner at the newspaper, that he recognizes Johnny as a marshal. Bigsby, who is the secret force behind the stolen gold, sends Jackson to kill Johnny. Meanwhile, Johnny sets out for the site of the theft, assuming that the trouble in Latigo City must somehow be connected to the stolen gold he is pursuing. At the site, Jackson and his men attack Johnny, who barely escapes with his life. The next day, Bigsby prints a story exposing Johnny as a marshal, hoping to lure Johnny's longtime enemy, Sonny Lang, who was recently released from prison, into avenging himself. Sandy, meanwhile, overhears Bigsby and Jackson talking about some gold that has to be shipped that afternoon and informs Johnny. When Bigsby tries to load the heavy boxes, Johnny starts a fight with him, causing the boxes to overturn. Inside the boxes, however, Johnny finds only lead type bound for the East coast. Soon after, Lang appears in the printing office and, as soon as Bigsby and Jackson pay him to kill Johnny, he finds Johnny and challenges him to a gunfight the next morning. That night, after Sandy tries to convince Johnny not to fight, they both wonder why a rural printer would be sending type back East. Before the fight the next morning, Lang identifies Sandy as a deputy marshal, and Jackson passes this information to Bigsby. The gunfight begins and Johnny shoots Lang in the shoulder, winning the fight while sparing his enemy's life. A few hours later, Johnny and Sandy search the printing office for the gold but are caught in the act by Jackson and are knocked unconscious. After taking their guns and binding the men, Jackson brings the gold to Bigsby at the stage. The revived Johnny and Sandy then break out of their binds and find proof that Bigsby has been melting the gold into type-shaped pieces and covering it with lead. They chase Bigsby and Jackson to the stage, where a gunfight breaks out. Lang, who has been recovering from his gunshot wound, wanders out just in time to see Jackson hiding by a window, aiming his gun at Johnny, and shoots him to repay Johnny for saving his life. Bigsby flees on the stage but Johnny chases and captures him. The next day, Johnny and Sandy leave town with Lang, who has decided to give up crime.