The journey of a prized rifle from one ill-fated owner to another parallels a cowboy's search for a murderous fugitive.

[High-Spade explains to Lola why Lin has been pursuing his brother, 'Dutch']
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Well, that's the way it was. The old man sired two sons. One was no good... never was any good. Robbed a bank... a stagecoach. Then when he came home and wanted to hide out, the old man wouldn't go for it. So Dutch shot him... in the back.
Wyatt Earp: Pick out a name and write it down.
Lin McAdam: All right if I use my own name?
Wyatt Earp: Some folks do.
Lin McAdam: Yeah... some folks do.
Lola Manners: You never know when a girl might need a bullet.
[Lin McAdam and High-Spade are signing up for the shooting contest]
Bartender: Who would you be?
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: High-Spade Frankie Wilson... with a hyphen. That's what I sit on when I get tired.
Lin McAdam: Awful lot of law for a little cowtown.
Wyatt Earp: This is the kind of cowtown that needs a lot of law.
Waco Johnnie Dean: What was I saying?
Lola Manners: You were talking about yourself.
Waco Johnnie Dean: Where did I stop?
Lola Manners: You didn't. But you can now. I already know all about Waco Johnnie Dean, the fastest gun in Texas.
Waco Johnnie Dean: Texas? Lady, why limit me?
Joe Lamont: Indian smoke always means the same thing... trouble.
Wyatt Earp: That's Dutch Henry Brown. I thought you said you didn't know him.
Lin McAdam: I said I didn't recall the name.
[after Lola and Steve escape from the Indians into the cavalry camp]
Lola Manners: Do you mind if I kiss you?
Sgt. Wilkes: No, ma'am, I'd like it. Providin' your man don't mind.
[she kisses him]
Lola Manners: That's for savin' my life.
Sgt. Wilkes: Now you disappoint me. I thought it was 'cause I'm pretty. Got some coffee boilin' on the fire. Wanna just sorta help yourself?
Lola Manners: Oh, coffee. You know, now that I look at you... you ARE pretty.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Where's that Steve boy? Drinkin' whiskey?
Lola Manners: He's dead.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Sudden, wasn't it?
Lola Manners: Very. He was killed by that gentleman standing at the bar. The one that's looking at us.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Don't seem right for people to go around killing nice folks like...
Lola Manners: He's not "people". He's Waco Johnnie Dean.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: We've hit a lot of towns, Lin. What makes you think he'll be here?
Lin McAdam: He'll be here.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: We've been wrong before.
Lin McAdam: He'll be here.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: On account of that?
[High-Spade indicates the Winchester '73 rifle that is the top prize at Dodge City's Fourth of July shooting competition]
Lin McAdam: If he isn't here already, that gun'll bring him.
Lin McAdam: Yeah, I hear 'em.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: I told you night riding wasn't smart.
Lin McAdam: I guess you did.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Now we're smack in the middle of 'em.
Lin McAdam: I guess you're right again.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Being right ain't gonna do us any good. What do we do now?
Lin McAdam: Well, keep riding.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: With injuns all around us?
Lin McAdam: Maybe you'd feel better if we stopped?
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Ah... no.
Lin McAdam: Well, then maybe we better just keep riding.
Dutch Henry Brown: What happened at the Little Big Horn?
Joe Lamont: Haven't you heard? Sioux jumped Custer - wiped out his whole command. Yes sir, it's getting to be mighty tough country to travel... without a gun.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: You're about ready to fall out of the saddle. Why don't we rest up a little?
Lin McAdam: I'm not that tired.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Four or five hours ain't gonna make any difference. We have been chasin' since... since I can't remember.
Opening title card: This is the story of the Winchester Rifle Model 1873, "The gun that won the West." To cowman, outlaw, peace officer or soldier, the Winchester '73 was a treasured possession. An Indian would sell his soul to own one.
Lin McAdam: Say, ah, about these Indians. It seems like they hardly ever attack at night.
Sgt. Wilkes: Why?
Lin McAdam: Well, they figure if they are killed in the dark, the Great Spirit can't find their souls and whip 'em up into heaven... or something like that.
[after Lin wins the Winchester 73 rifle]
Dutch Henry Brown: How much will you take for it?
Lin McAdam: It's not for sale.
Dutch Henry Brown: That's too bad. That's too much gun for a man to have just for... shootin' rabbits.
Lin McAdam: Or for shootin' men in the back.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: It was such pretty hair. I've had it ever since I was a kid. A little thin on top... but I sure would like to keep it.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Did you ever wonder what he'd think about you hunting down Dutch Henry?
Lin McAdam: He'd understand. He taught me to hunt.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Not men. Hunting for food, that's alright. Hunting a man to kill him? You're beginning to like it.
Lin McAdam: That's where you're wrong. I don't like it. Some things a man has to do, so he does 'em.
Lin McAdam: You've been real fine people, High-Spade, riding along with me.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: That's what friends are for, isn't it. At leastways, that's the way you dad always said it.
Lin McAdam: Yeah, he did, didn't he? He said if a man had one friend, he was rich. I'm rich.
Sgt. Wilkes: You're a man after my stamp. Wish we'd have had you with us at Bull Run. We might not have run so fast.
Lin McAdam: Well, I wanna tell you somethin'. I was with you at Bull Run. So was High-Spade.
High-Spade Frankie Wilson: Only we was on the other side.
Dutch Henry Brown: Do you want in on this Tascosa deal?
Waco Johnnie Dean: I didn't ride out here to pick blueberries.
Dutch Henry Brown: Haven't I seen you somewhere?
Lola Manners: I've been somewhere.
Young Bull: All white men are thieves. In peace, they steal our land; in war, they steal our women. And you are a white man!