Duke was escorting five wagons who come under attack by Cheyenne Indians. Four of the wagons panic and are swarmed by the attackers. The fifth wagon with Duke is stopped when the wagon tongue breaks and is under siege. The other man Jim Collins is killed leaving Duke with three women. They are saved by a man named Blane Wessels who appears on the scene. One of the women, Minna whose husband was killed in the attack, is pregnant and soon to give birth. Unfortunately the Indians are certain to return, so the group finds temporary shelter in the relay station, Blue Water, after the kill the lone brave guarding it. Once inside, they find the wounded owner Ed Graham hiding in a hole under the floor along with guns and ammo. Though willing to risk death to fight for the others, Wessels still blames himself for the death of his own wife a few months before, and has become overly cynical and fatalistic, a fact which Duke finds troubling and even potentially dangerous for the group.