Hoss befriends an old drunk named Charlie Trent, who at one time had been the best scout the Army had. He led John C. Fremont and his Expedition across the Great Salt Flats. When the Army's current scout, Lewt Cutter, refuses to obey Captain Pender's orders, he is fired and replaced by Charlie, whom the Captain knew from his earlier days. Charlie, along with Hoss, must guide the troops and a shipment of gold across the desert. This is Charlie's chance to redeem himself, but Cutter and his men are waiting in the desert to bushwack the troops and steal the gold.