"Draw" Egan, a notorious bandit of New Mexico, has come to the end of his tether.
His gang has been dispersed, many slain, and more in jail, and there is a reward of $1,000 offered for Egan, "dead or alive." While drinking in a saloon at Muscatine, Egan chances across Matt Buckton, a leading citizen of the neighboring village of Yellow Dog.
Yellow Dog is a town infested with gunmen who make life miserable for the few respectable citizens.
Buckton is on a still hunt for some strong men who will shoulder the unenviable responsibilities of sheriff, and put the fear of God and the law into the hearts of his undisciplined fellow-citizens.
While Buckton is thinking over his seemingly impossible quest, the bully of Muscatine enters the saloon and accosting "Draw" Egan, finds himself crumpled upon the floor without opportunity for repartee.
Buckton is so much impressed by the quietude and deftness of Draw Egan's work that he immediately offers him the job of cleaning out Yellow Dog.
So Draw Egan, as William Blake, is installed as sheriff of Buckton's promising community.
William Blake soon has the bullies and gunmen of Yellow Dog well in hand, with law and order restored by the capable ex-bandit.
At the time when the respectable citizens are singing the praises of the new sheriff, one of the worst of Egan's old gang, Oregon Joe, strolls into town, sizes up the situation, and holding a threat of betrayal over the sheriff's head, proceeds with the aid of the tough element to undo the sheriff's good work.
For himself Egan cares little, but while endeavoring to live down his past and lead a clean life, he has fallen in love with Buckton's daughter Myrtle.
Day by day he submits to Oregon Joe's insults and the tough element gradually gets the upper hand.
Things have reached such a pitch that one day the gunmen, headed by Oregon Joe, decide to drive the respectable citizens out of town and run the place for themselves.
It is up to the sheriff to decide, and his manhood asserts itself.
He confesses the evils of his past life, throws himself on the mercy of his fellow citizens and promises to surrender to the government if they will allow him one day to restore order.
He makes good; the gunmen are whipped into submission and Oregon Joe, the blackmailer, meets his just reward.
The sheriff surrenders and is locked up in the caboose, but the next morning a delegation of citizens greets him with the assurance that to them Draw Egan has ceased to exist and that Yellow Dog only recognizes Sheriff William Blake.
Myrtle Buckton is one of the delegation.