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When a rambunctious teenager wrecks a schoolroom, Lucas McCain, as a member of the North Fork school board, asks the boy's reluctant uncle to pay for the damages.
The McCains try to be tolerant of their embittered neighbor Abel MacDonald, who tells Lucas to keep off his land and won't allow his son to become friends with Mark. However, they decide he's gone too far when he won't allow his injured boy to get medical treatment.
Although a drought has forced local cowhands to seek work on a railroad construction project, railroad executives are afraid that their workers will desert them if they believe an old man's claim to have found a way to make rain.