John Gant (Audie Murphy) rides into the town of Lordsburg and quietly checks into the hotel. He doesn't say much, nor does he need to -- his mere presence does the talking. Gant is a killer, a hired assassin, a gunman with 23 dead men to his credit, but he is not a murderer or a criminal; all of his killings have been legal, a result of self-defense when the men he was after drew on him. When he comes to a town, someone dies as surely as if he were the angel of death -- he even tells the town doctor in Lordsburg (Charles Drake) that he's in "a similar line of work," and ends up playing chess with him. Who has he come to "see" in Lordsburg? No one is sure, but as the sheriff (Willis Bouchey) tells his deputy, it will be mighty interesting watching the leading citizens over the next few days. Sure enough, the town banker (Whit Bissell) locks himself in his office with a gun, his business partner starts packing iron for the first time in his life, the man they cheated in their dealings is also going armed; and one guilty cuckold (Warren Stevens) is positive his ex-rival has paid Gant. Less than 12 hours after that, there's no law left in Lordsburg, every dirty little secret in every man's past starts bubbling to the surface, and gunplay has broken out in the streets between the men who think their respective rivals have brought Gant to town.
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