The film is set in 1861. John Blair (Wayne) and his partner, Larry Adams (Lane Chandler) are dismayed when the arrival of telegraph ends the Pony Express. Hoping to utilize their horse-riding skills, they decide to start a stage coach transportation business. They ask local magnate Cal Drake (Douglas Cosgrove) if he is willing to sell them a stage coach. Instead, Drake offers them a franchise from his own stage coach line - a line out to bustling Crescent City.