In 1877, after the near-complete annihilation of the prairie Indians, the Whites have moved further west. There, they encounter the peaceful Nez Perce Indians, who were scheduled to be forced onto a reservation. In order to hinder escape attempts from the reservation and stifle the Indians' spirit of resistance, a cavalry regiment commandeers the Indians' large herd of horses.
Chief White Feather decides to get back his tribe's horses without the use of force. Pretending to belong to another tribe, White Feather allows himself to be taken prisoner. Most of the soldiers have been sent off to attack the Cayuse tribe, and the seven remaining men commission White Feather as the scout to lead them to the Fort Lapwai. But along the way, the clever Sergeant Anderson realizes White Feather's true identity, becoming his deadly enemy even as he depends on the Indian scout to safely guide his troops to their destination.