After the Civil War, rancher and muleskinner Dudford Washburn returns to San Antonio to find that his wife has divorced him. Determined to make enough money to win her back, he comes up with a scheme to herd longhorns across the wilds of West Texas to sell them to the army posts in New Mexico. It's so dangerous, the only cowhands he can find are green-under-the-collar boys who don't know any better. To round out his ramshackle crew, Dud is forced to take along his feuding relatives. Everyone else believes they are about to embark on a suicide mission through hell, but Dud is convinced fortune awaits at the end of the trail.