A murder in a Philippine army post results in a young officer's being wrongly dishonorably discharged. The real murderer is a rough Kentucky mountain private, half-crazed with malaria. By a circuitous narrative route, both Grant, the murderer, and Spurrier, the cashiered officer arrive in the mountains. Spurrier, connected with a firm engaged in oil land speculation, scouts the countryside and inadvertently kills the pet partridges of a native girl. Spurrier's attempts to stay out of the range of Grant, reinstate himself in the girl's good graces, and do justice by the oil company keep him busily scrambling over Hemlock Moimtain.