Vignettes weaving together the stories of six individuals in the old West at the end of the Civil War. Following the tales of a sharp-shooting songster, a wannabe bank robber, two weary traveling performers, a lone gold prospector, a woman traveling the West to an uncertain future, and a motley crew of strangers undertaking a carriage ride.
While the audience watches a black and white horse opera, a narrator's voice wonders what such a movie would be like today. Rex O'Herlehan, The Singing Cowboy, finds himself in color and enters a cliche ridden town, in which the evil cattle baron (Andy Griffith) and the new Italian cowboys (who always wear raincoats no matter how hot it gets) join forces to get him and the sheep ranchers to leave.
In his starring debut Roy gets elected to congress in order to bring water to the ranchers in his district. In Washington he learns he needs the backing of a key congressman and gets that man to go west for an inspection trip. When the Congressman is initally unimpressed, Roy gets the inspection party stranded without water to show the true conditions.
A singing cowboy (George Houston) and his sidekick (Al St. John) rescue miners from a bad deal.
Ranger Eddie Dean is looking for the outlaw the Tioga Kid, a man he closely resembles. He runs into Joe Morino and his gang of rustlers at the same time Tioga arrives to cut himself into Morino's game. But Morino doesn't give in and in the showdown, Eddie and the Kid find themselves on the same side.
Before he was murdered Grandpa Martin found a gold mine. He failed to record it and now everyone is looking for Martin's old horse that can lead them to it. When under-cover Texas Ranger Autry arrives to investigate, he is accused of the murder and finds the Sheriff after him.
President Lincoln personally sends Bill Gibson west to see if he can stop the holdups of the needed shipments of gold. There he meets his boyhood friend Foster. When all others refuse to take out the next gold shipment due to the killings, Bill volunteers. Jeannie, afraid for his safety, tells Foster of Bill's secret route not knowing Foster is the leader of the outlaw gang.
Caxton has broken out of prison and Eddie has been sent to bring him in. Caxton is known by the polka dot band on his hat and Eddie has Soapy wear one like it. This gets Soapy arrested as soon as he rides into town but it leads Eddie to Varney and he realizes Varney will lead him to Caxton.