In the late fifties John Hogue, his wife and daughter, Dora, are living in a little cabin on the edge of civilization, directly in the path of the great caravans of Mormons as they made their way from the States to their community in Utah. One of these caravans, under the guidance of Elder Darius Burr, a power among the Mormons, passes the Hogue cabin and Tom Rigdon, a youthful convert to the newer religion, is impressed by Dora. His interest in the girl is shared by Burr, but with different motives. The Indians raid the Hogue cabin and the family is forced to join the Mormon party despite the fact that Dora's father and mother have many misgivings. Arrived in Salt Lake City, the Hogues are taken aback by the presence of the Avenging Angels, the peculiar group of masked men who seem to have unlimited power. Hogue is an industrious man and soon becomes quite prominent. Burr, coveting Dora, induces "The Lion," head of the church, to insist that Hogue take a second wife and gains his permission to win Dora if he can. Meanwhile, Tom and Dora have become more and more attached to each other. Four Angels intercept them and separate them, Dora being taken into a room adjoining the council chamber. Hogue is brought in and forced to marry a woman he has never seen and Dora is told by Burr that the only way she can save her father is by marrying him. Ignorant of the fact that he has actually been married, Dora decided to comply in order to save her father. When Hogue's second wife is brought to the house by the Avenging Angels, Dora's mother kills herself. Hogue, Tom and Dora then try to escape, but are caught by the Angels and the girl is taken to Burr's household. Hogue is taken out to the desert to die of thirst, but makes his way back to the settlement, killing one of the Angels and donning his peculiar uniform, in which he is safe from molestation. When Dora is brought before the council to be married, she declares she cannot marry Burr because of her past sins, and she is condemned to die. Tom is spirited away by an Avenging Angel who also unlocks Dora from her prison cell and flees with them, with Burr in pursuit. Getting Burr aside, the Avenging Angel takes him to the spot where the fugitives are hiding, and reveals himself as Hogue. Burr is sent out into the desert to die, just as he has condemned Hogue to do, and the three make their escape from the dread community.