Incessant heat and drought have taken their toll on the Wild Horse Valley range. The creeks are drying up and there is too little water to irrigate the hay crops needed to get the cattle through the coming winter. The problem is no less acute on the Double R, the largest ranch in the district, owned by Walt Rand and his father Jake. It is at this point that Nick Kenyon diverts what little water is left in Wild Horse Creek, giving his small ranch more water than it needs and the Double R none. Walt also sees Nick riding away from the Double R ranch house. Could Nick have been visiting Rose, Walt’s wife? Walt decides to react to Kenyon’s theft of water in the same way he would react to anyone who stole anything that belongs to the Double R.