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Fifteen year-old Henry Clay leaves home in the spring of 1880 for Texas where he plans to become a cowboy, chase Indians, and live a life of adventure. After being hired to work with horses in an outfit, he acquires typhoid and is left with a squatter’s family on the edge of a Texas prairie.
The family is kind and nurses him back to health. He goes to Sherman, Texas, looking for work. A blind Irishman and his daughter hire Kid Clay to take them to Fort Worth. They overcome a pair of robbers en route and meet Bat Masterson who accompanies them to their destination. Their wagon is stolen, but soon recovered by Kid Clay, Bat Masterson, Luke Short, and two friends.
Kid Clay is hired to be a horse wrangler at the Brooks Ranch near Waco. He meets Meri, a huge man, who serves as cook, and a speechless, young boy they named Q who was rescued along the trail. Kid becomes a good friend of Fletcher Deaton, one of several cowboys hired on for the drive. He and Fletcher capture a young Indian thief while passing through the Indian Territory. The Indian is discovered to be a girl with whom Kid falls in love. The outfit moves on toward Kansas. They are attacked by a gang of Commancheros. Kid Clay is wounded and Q saves him from being killed. The outfit’s trail boss is killed, and Fletcher Deaton takes over, leading the drive to its final destination.
After spending a season with the Cherokees, Kid decided he wasn’t ready to settle down and marry. He moves on to work for several outfits, driving cattle to various destinations throughout the West. After a brief acquaintance with Buffalo Bill, he continues to have numerous adventures with river crossings and stampedes during another cattle drive to the north and finally becomes convinced that the days of the cattle drive are coming to an end,
Kid meets a Texas Ranger whom he rescues from certain death by a group of renegades. He turns down the offer to become a Ranger. After deciding to return home, he is chased by the Indian Police in the Indian Territory and meets the Dalton gang in which he discovers that Fletcher Deaton, is actually Grat Dalton. Saddened by the realization that his friend is an outlaw and knowing his life as a cowboy is over, he sells his horse and catches a train for the return trip to Kentucky.