Duke Fergus falls for Ann ‘Flaxen’ Tarry in the Barbary Coast in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. He loses money to crooked gambler Boss Tito Morell, goes home, learns to gamble, and returns. After he makes a fortune, he opens his own place with Flaxen as the entertainer; but the 1906 quake destroys his place.
In 1871, professional gambler John Devlin elopes with Sandra “Sandy” Poli, daughter of Marko Poli, an immigrant who has risen to railroad tycoon. Sandy, knowing that the railroad is to be extended into Dakota, plans to use their $20,000 nest egg to buy land options to sell to the railroad at a profit. On the stage trip to Ft. Abercrombie, their fellow passengers are Jim Bender and Bigtree Collins, who practically own the town of Fargo and Devlin is aware that they are prepared to protect the little empire… trying to drive out the farmers by burning their property, destroying their wheat, and blaming the devastation on the Indians. Continuing their journey north on the river aboard the “River Bird’, Sandy and John meet Captain Bounce, an irascible old seafarer. Two of Bendender’s henchmen, Slagin and Carp, board the boat and relieve John of his $20,000 at gunpoint. Captain Bounce, chasing the robber’s dinghy..