Jim Lacy (Robert Mitchum), Chito Rafferty (Richard Martin), and Dusty (Guinn "Big Boy" Williams) are three cowpokes working what was then known -- in the 1850's -- as the western Utah Territory. They know cattle, not mining, and they can't help but feel like they're missing out on something amid the influx of prospectors trying to work the Comstock Lode. But then they see most of these claims come to nothing, as the surface gold always seems to run out and leave owners with nothing but useless blue waste -- and the three are prone to count their blessings. But the machinations of a crooked mining company head Cash Burridge (Craig Reynolds) and a shoot-out at a crooked casino leave the trio on the run, and Lacy -- taking the alias "Nevada" -- headed into mining country with both the law and outlaws on his trail. And that's how he crosses paths with the Ides, a prospecting family, and their pretty daughter Hattie (Nancy Gates), and also with saloon singer Julie Dexter (Anne Jeffreys), who's close to Burridge but starts to like Nevada's honesty and sincerity. Burridge knows the truth about that "useless" blue slag -- it's some of the richest silver ore ever assayed in the United States -- and plans to swindle his neighbors to get control of the Comstock Lode; and Julie cares enough about Burridge that she's ready to go along, up to the point where it involves murder, especially when Burridge's cover-up of his crime may end up with Nevada at the end of a rope.
by Bruce Eder synopsis