In a wagon train headed for California, Dr. Ezra Holt chastises his wife Hetty for flirting with young men. The wagon train stops in the town of Independence, where Wanda lives with of her husband Diamonds, who threatens to reveal her true identity if she does not stop spying on him. The lieutenant of the wagon train, Allan Grant, tells Ezra that the townspeople may be a bad influence on the youngsters aboard the train; however, Ezra believes that the townspeople are merely in need of his "Elixir of Life." In town, Ezra meets Diamonds, who challenges him to a "wrist-twisting" contest; instead Ezra sets up shop and has his slave Opium sing while he performs magic tricks for the crowd. After he has sold some of his Elixir, Ezra and Hetty go to a saloon, where Hetty begins to flirt. Ezra becomes enraged, and the next morning goes to the gambling house where Diamonds operates. While Ezra is involved in a game of faro, Diamonds visits Hetty and talks her into eloping with him. Their conversation is overheard by Wanda, who finds Ezra and tells him about the elopement. Ezra returns to his wagon, where Hetty tells him that she is leaving. When his attempts to dissuade her fail, Ezra goes to Diamonds and makes him promise to take good care of Hetty. Wanda then goes to Hetty and explains that she also left her husband for Diamonds but came to regret it. Hetty realizes her error and searches for Ezra, planning to beg for forgiveness, but Ezra and Opium have left Independence to join a group of pioneers heading west. To support herself, Hetty becomes a singer, but she sings only sad songs. Some time later, Opium returns to Independence with the news of Ezra's death, and he tells Diamonds that before Ezra died, he had confiscated large boxes of gold that Indians had stolen from wagon trains. Opium leads Diamonds to nearby caves where, he says, the gold is hidden. As they enter a cave, Opium disappears, leaving Diamonds to wander aimlessly in the dark maze of caves. Outside, Opium tells Ezra, who is alive, that Hetty loves him and that she has taken a wagon train to find him. Ezra sends Opium to warn the wagon train of Indian attacks, and after thanking Opium for his loyal service, Ezra sets him free. He asks Opium to join the wagon train and watch over Hetty, then leaves to continue his life as a renegade.
This film was reviewed in the British trade publication Kinematograph Weekly in September 1930, under the title Fool's Gold. No American reviews have been located for the film, although the picture was approved for exhibition in New York State in October 1931. The plot synopsis is based on a dialogue continuity from NYSA. Most credits were obtained from the Kinematograph Weekly review. A modern source credits Jack Irwin as the producer, director and author of the screenplay, adds Reed Howes, Ted Wells, Donald Keith, Marjorie Keyes, Gene Layman, Billy Franey, Tom Murray and Mrs. Ted Wells to the cast and notes that the working title of the film was The Empire Builders.