Deserter J.W. Browning heads for Kansas in search of Jake Hiller for revenge and justice. Captain Jake Hiller being near death after an Indian attack confesses to using his rank to blame others for murder and desertion. However, learning he would live, Jake escapes from Fort Hays, rides to Nevada, and begins his life as an outlaw. When vigilantes start hanging every suspicious man, Jake goes into in the desert to hide and starts robbing and killing lone riders on the trails.
J.W. Browning finds a dead minister along his route and assumes the identity of Reverend Michael Barnes on his way to deliver Bibles to Shadow Flats, Nevada. With Maggie Ebber, he changes his hate when he learns that his name has been cleared. He no longer searches for Jake Hiller.
Jake is known as Snake Man until he escapes from Marshal Judson Troope. Judson puts out a new poster identifying him as Rattlesnake Jake. That inspires the outlaw to try robbing again. Failing to holding up a stagecoach by himself, Jake decides to start up a gang to rob the bank in Shadow Flats. There he runs into J.W. Browning, alias the Reverend Michael Barnes for a showdown.