The wagon train is approaching the area where the Donner party was lost. The military has warned them that the Bannock tribe is causing problems and bad weather is possible so Chris decides they should stop the wagon train until there is clear weather so they can cross the pass safely. However, one family lead by John Muskie objects because they must reach California before January 15 to claim a gold mine they are to inherit. Duke is growing close to pretty Marie Muskie. Flint refuses to take the family across alone so Chris decides he and Duke will take them. Early in the trip a wagon wheel rolls over Dukes foot injuring him. They decide to leave him at a deserted cabin nearby with plenty of food until Chris can return to pick him up. Chris and the family have a hard time with Marie dying but Chris gets them to the top of the pass. Meanwhile, Duke out for wood comes back to find a group of the Bannock stealing all his supplies. Later, he wounds a single brave in his cabin but who ...