He comes across TUGEN, a Scandinavian immigrant, and SEAN, an urchin. TUGEN has a crush and is preoccupied in watching MARY, a teacher around his age, entering the schoolhouse.
The next day BRANT advertises a running contest with the winner to receive fifty dollars prize money. TUGEN is keen to win the race in order to fulfil his dreams of prospecting for gold and winning MARY’s heart. However, he is sure JESS, the shop keeper in LOOM’s store, will win.
In LOOM’s store, JESS tells MARY that he is not entering the race as he feels an almost religious connection with running and does not think it right to be paid for it.
TUGEN wins a preliminary race and, while watching, MARY talks to JESS of how the prize money could go towards buying new books for her school. After hearing this, JESS changes his mind and decides to enter the race.
Public interest is high in the race and BRANT has lots of people willing to place a bet with him. Most of the people back JESS, which suits BRANT just fine even though BRANT will have a huge payout if JESS wins….
BRANT plans to fix the race. BRANT invites both TUGEN and JESS around to dinner on the eve of the race. BRANT makes SEAN pour a powder into JESS’ glass. JESS is kept up all night vomiting. Meanwhile Sean breaks in and puts a nail in one of JESS’ shoes
The next day, a large crowd gathers. Into the race, JESS feels the nail in his shoe and decides to go barefoot.
Later, SEAN, hidden, releases a branch and hits JESS in the head. As TUGEN stops to help, JESS is angry with TUGEN. JESS realises now that the race has been fixed.
As TUGEN leads going into the finish, he realises that the race has been fixed. He slows down and JESS narrowly wins.
TUGEN grabs SEAN and accuses him and BRANT of fixing the race. BRANT has fled the scene. Several townsmen with rifles, including LOOMS and JESS intercept BRANT as he flees.
JESS visits TUGEN. TUGEN tells JESS that he was not aware of the fixing. JESS feels sorry for him and gives him the fifty dollars. Even though he lost the race, Tugen proved himself in the end by being honest – and won love, as MARY and TUGEN end up arm in arm.