The Biddle brothers, shot while robbing a gas station, are taken to the prison ward of the County Hospital; Ray Biddle, a rabid racist, wants no treatment from black resident Dr. Luther Brooks. When brother John dies while Luther tries to save him, Ray is certain it’s murder and becomes obsessed with vengeance. But there are black racists around too, and the situation slides rapidly toward violence.
The Man from Bitter Ridge is a film directed by Jack Arnold. Jeff Carr, a special investigator, arrives in Tomahawk. His assignment is to discover who has been holding up the local stagecoach and is guilty for a series of killings that terrorize the town. Sheepman Alec Black is suspected by the local population but it is not long before Jeff realizes the man is innocent. Alec even becomes a good friend although he is in love with the same woman as him, Holly. Jeff will manage to arrest the real culprits but not before the latter try to compromise him down.
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.