Cavalry Lieutenant Winslow Brighton, stationed below the mining town of Virginia City, Nevada, responds to an Indian massacre. There he discovers a young woman has been taken hostage by a renegade Apache. In his efforts to rescue Laura O'Connell, his heart is torn between the fashionable young lady he is engaged to, Elizabeth, and Laura, a quick-tempered redhead who is determined to live or die in this new country on her own terms—whatever her fate. Meanwhile, Amethyst (Amy), a prostitute Win has grown fond of, waits anxiously for his return. She knows it's unrealistic to fall in love with a customer. But, she also knows emotions are irrational and she has already suffered enough.