In the 1880s orphan Jeb Rand is raised by the Callum family on their horse ranch after his own family is killed. Jeb is haunted by this childhood trauma in a recurring nightmare of flashing spurs and confinement inside a trap door as his family is murdered. Widow Callum does her best to make Jeb feel loved as he is growing up, but the young man stubbornly maintains a sense of his own identity. While he has great affection for his foster-sister Thor, his relationship with her brother Adam is tenuous at best, especially when Jeb blames him for shooting the colt that he was riding. Although Mrs. Callum blames the incident on deer hunters, she is aware that the shooting was actually the attempted murder of the youngster by her brother-in-law Grant, a shadowy figure who, for vague reasons, is determined to hurt Jeb. Jeb loses a coin flip with Adam, and becomes the designated family volunteer to fight in the Spanish-American War...