Dan Ballard, a respected citizen in the western town of Silver Lode, has his wedding interrupted by four men led by Ned McCarthy, an old acquaintance who, as a US Marshal, arrests Ballard for the murder of his brother and the theft of $20,000. Ballard seeks to stall McCarthy while tracking down evidence that will prove his innocence.
Grant MacLaine, a former railroad troubleshooter, lost his job after letting his outlaw brother, the Utica Kid, escape. After spending five years wandering the west and earning his living playing the accordion, he is given a second chance by his former boss.
Burglar Nat Harbin (Dan Duryea) and his two associates set their sights on wealthy spiritualist Sister Sarah, who has inherited a fortune — including a renowned emerald necklace — from a Philadelphia financier. Using Nat’s female ward, Gladden (Jayne Mansfield), to pose as an admirer and case the mansion where the woman lives, they set up a perfect break-in. Things get complicated afterwards.
One night on a lonely highway, a speeding car tosses a satchel of money, meant for somebody else, into Jane and Alan Palmer’s back seat. Alan wants to turn it over to the police, but Jane, with luxury within her reach, persuades him to hang onto it “for a while.” Soon, the Palmers are traced by one Danny Fuller, a sleazy character who claims the money is his. To hang onto it, Jane will need all the qualities of an ultimate femme fatale…and does she ever have them!
Lin McAdam rides into town on the trail of Dutch Henry Brown, only to find himself in a shooting competition against him. McAdam wins the prize, a one-in-a-thousand Winchester rifle, but Dutch steals it and leaves town. McAdam follows, intent on settling his old quarrel, while the rifle keeps changing hands and touching a number of lives.
Burt Lancaster plays Steve Thompson, a man who seals his dark fate when he returns to Los Angeles to find his ex-wife Anna Dundee (Yvonne DeCarlo) eager to rekindle their love against all better judgement. She encourages their affair but then quickly marries mobster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea). To deflect suspicion of the affair, Steve Thompson leads Dundee into a daylight armored-truck robbery.
Sergeant Joe Gunn and his tank crew pick up five British soldiers, a Frenchman and a Sudanese man with an Italian prisoner crossing the Libyan Desert to rejoin their command after the fall of Tobruk. Tambul, the Sudanese leads them to an abandoned desert fortress where they hope to find water. Soon a detachment of German soldiers arrives and attempts to barter food for water, but Gunn and his followers refuse. When the Germans attack, Gunn leads his desert-weary men in a desperate battle, hoping that British reinforcements can arrive in time.