One of Hollywood's most famous and acclaimed directors, John Huston guides this western with an unerring hand -- the cast of notable stars is no drawback either.
Setting up the story with a series of suspenseful scenes, Huston has a mysterious stranger on horseback come into a small community in the Texas Panhandle and then proceed to cause a mini-war. The time is the mid-19th century and there is already antagonism between the white settlers in the community and the local Kiowa Indian nation.
The Zachary family is at the crux of the trouble. Matilda (Lillian Gish) is the matriarch who holds a family secret -- her adopted daughter Rachel (Audrey Hepburn) is actually a Kiowa child. There are three brothers in the Zachary family, and one of them, Ben (Burt Lancaster) is obviously in love with Rachel.
Another, Cash (Audie Murphy) hates Native Americans, while the youngest (Doug McClure) is there to defend the family when they need it. The stranger on horseback has done the unthinkable, he has made it widely known that Rachel is a Kiowa -- and then the battles begin.