Vinnie Holt, a single woman traveling with her toddler niece, becomes stranded at Rawhide, a desert stagecoach stop managed by stationmaster Sam Todd and his assistant Tom Owens. Owens is quickly impressed by Vinnie's independent self-confidence. Jim Zimmerman, a fugitive murderer from Huntsville Prison disguised as a deputy, and three other ruthless escapees take over the station, intent on robbing the next day's gold shipment. After murdering Sam, Zimmerman knows they must keep Tom alive in order to complete their plans. Owens does not correct Zimmmerman's assumption that Vin is his wife, correctly sensing that the misconception might be the key to her survival also.