The movie is set in 1875, a decade after the Civil War ended. During the war, the Texas Rangers had disbanded to fight for the Confederacy. At war's end, they were not reformed and the Union Army was occupying Texas, charged primarily with defending the State from Indian depredations. In the movie, the Governor of Texas asks Leander McNelly to form a company of Rangers to deal with the banditry along the Mexican border. Most of his company of Rangers are young men, orphans for the most part and a smattering of veterans of the late war. Their prime target is the bandit King Fisher who is stealing cattle, burning ranches, raping, looting, pillaging and otherwise breaking the law.