Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin by Japanese forces firsthand.
Retired wealthy sea captain Jim McKay arrives in the vast expanse of the West to marry fiancée Pat Terrill. McKay is a man whose values and approach to life are a mystery to the ranchers and ranch foreman Steve Leech takes an immediate dislike to him. Pat is spoiled, selfish and controlled by her wealthy father, Major Henry Terrill. The Major is involved in a ruthless civil war, over watering rights for cattle, with a rough hewn clan led by Rufus Hannassey. The land in question is owned by Julie Maragon and both Terrill and Hannassey want it.
When his cattlemen abandon him for the gold fields, rancher Wil Andersen is forced to take on a collection of young boys as his cowboys in order to get his herd to market in time to avoid financial disaster. The boys learn to do a man's job under Andersen's tutelage; however, neither Andersen nor the boys know that a gang of cattle thieves is stalking them.
Hud Bannon is a ruthless young man who tarnishes everything and everyone he touches. Hud represents the perfect embodiment of alienated youth, out for kicks with no regard for the consequences. There is bitter conflict between the callous Hud and his stern and highly principled father, Homer. Hud's nephew Lon admires Hud's cheating ways, though he soon becomes too aware of Hud's reckless amorality to bear him anymore. In the world of the takers and the taken, Hud is a winner. He's a cheat, but, he explains, "I always say the law was meant to be interpreted in a lenient manner."
Marshall Jed Cooper survives a hanging, vowing revenge on the lynch mob that left him dangling. To carry out his oath for vengeance, he returns to his former job as a lawman. Before long, he's caught up with the nine men on his hit list and starts dispensing his own brand of Wild West justice.
Headstrong Thomas Dunson starts a thriving Texas cattle ranch with the help of his faithful trail hand, Groot, and his protégé, Matthew Garth, an orphan Dunson took under his wing when Matt was a boy. In need of money following the Civil War, Dunson and Matt lead a cattle drive to Missouri, where they will get a better price than locally, but the crotchety older man and his willful young partner begin to butt heads on the exhausting journey.
New York meets the west in this comedy starring Billy Crystal. Three New York businessmen decide to take a "Wild West" vacation that turns out not to be the relaxing vacation they had envisioned.
The simple story has the pair coming to the rescue of peace-loving Mormons when land-hungry Major Harriman sends his bullies to harass them into giving up their fertile valley. Trinity and Bambino manage to save the Mormons and send the bad guys packing with slapstick humor instead of excessive violence, saving the day.