In 1880, fifteen-year-old Henry Clay, son of Kentucky Judge Demetrius Clay, decides he has enough schooling and leaves home to travel west where he can live a life of adventure as a cowboy.
After surviving typhoid fever, he travels with a blind Irishman and daughter to Fort Worth, Texas, during which the trio is accosted by a pair of thieves. He meets Bat Masterson and Luke Short at the White Elephant Saloon and travels on to apply for a job at Brooks Ranch near Waco, Texas.
Because of his skill with horses, he is assigned the job of horse wrangler and goes on a cattle drive through the Indian Territory into Kansas. He becomes a friend to a band of Cherokee Indians and experiences an attack from a group of Commancheros.
He also becomes a friend of Buffalo Bill Cody in Colorado. In Texas, he saves the life of Ranger Smith and turns down an invitation to become a Texas Ranger.
After facing many challenges as a Western frontiersman, he becomes aware of how the frontier is changing and decides to return to Kentucky. En route, he meets the notorious Dalton Brothers and is saddened to learn that one of his best friends is a member of the gang. He successfully eludes being arrested by the Indian police for not having papers to cross their territory. After returning to Kentucky, he becomes one the state’s outstanding civil lawyers.