The Cartwrights take young Billy Allen to the Ponderosa, following the death of his mother. The sheriff needs someone to care for Billy until his uncle comes to take custody. Bitter and with a bad attitude, Hoss seems to be the only one that is able to penetrate the boy's hostility. When Billy finally starts to open up and trust Hoss, his father Vance breaks out of prison and comes for the boy. Hoss has come to love Billy as a son and does what is necessary to protect him.