Based on a true story, southerners try to ship gold from Nevada to help the Confederacy; but they are stopped by Union forces.
In September 1864 at Libby Prison in Richmond, Captain Vance Irby (Randolph Scott) catches Kerry Bradford (Errol Flynn), Moose (Alan Hale), and Marblehead (Guinn Williams) digging a tunnel. Julia Hayne (Miriam Hopkins) visits Vance and tells him about gold in Virginia City. Vance tells President Jefferson Davis his plan to bring it to Texas. Kerry, Moose, and Marblehead escape. Kerry tells General Meade he will stop the gold.
On a stage John Murrell (Humphrey Bogart) tries to rob, but Kerry took his bullets. Julia thanks Kerry, and Murrell escapes. Kerry tells Julia he is in love with her. Virginia City celebrates Union victories. Julia slips away from Kerry, who reports to Major Drewery (Douglass Dumbrille). Vance supervises the loading of gold. From a banker Kerry gets a list of southerners. At Sazerac Saloon Kerry sees Julia singing and dancing. He buys her a drink and sees Vance, who tells Julia that Kerry is a Union spy. Kerry follows Vance and demands the gold. During a gun battle the wagons pull out. Kerry has Drewery arrest people, and Vance has Dr. Cameron (Moroni Olsen) burn his maps. Murrell comes to have Dr. Cameron treat his arm. Vance offers Murrell $10,000 to attack the garrison. Kerry apologizes to Julia. She finds Vance in her room, and he asks her to send Kerry to him. Kerry is summoned by Cobby Gill (Dickie Jones) to Julia. She sends him to Vance, who captures Kerry. Troops are called back to the garrison because of the attack.
Vance leads the wagons out, and Julia tells Kerry she is sorry. Moose and Marblehead follow. Vance pays Murrell with gold. Vance tells a Union sergeant they are settlers; but they are stopped and shoot it out. Kerry flees, chased by Vance and others. They see Kerry fall down a steep hill and leave him. Kerry recovers and sends a telegram to Drewery. Moose and Marblehead find Kerry. Vance divides the wagon train and crosses a river. Drewery follows the tracks but finds four wagons without gold. Kerry goes after the other wagons. Vance's wagons do not find water. Kerry watches Murrell and his bandits attack Vance's wagons. Kerry and his men go to help Vance, who gets shot. Murrell retreats for the night. Kerry has all the gold put in one wagon. Julia complains. Kerry uses dynamite to bury the gold. As Murrell attacks again, Drewery arrives with cavalry to make them flee, and Murrell is killed. When Kerry tells Drewery there is no gold, he is arrested. A military court convicts Kerry of treason. Kerry says that Vance wanted the gold to help southerners. Kerry is sentenced to death. Julia appeals to President Lincoln, who says that Kerry will not be killed.
This western drama indicates how money is important
in financing war and shows how efforts were made by Lincoln and
others to avoid vengeance and allow reconciliation after the war.