A gentler but no less resourceful Alan Ladd stars in The Proud Rebel. Ladd is cast as civil war veteran John Chandler, while the star's son David (who grew up to become a powerful Hollywood producer) plays Chandler's emotionally disturbed son David. Since suffering a traumatic shock during the war, David has not spoken a single word. With his son in tow, John wanders the frontier in search of a doctor who might cure David's muteness. Along the way, he runs afoul of sheep baron Harry Burleigh (Dean Jagger), and for a brief period is forced into indentured servitude to pay a debt to farm woman Linnet Moore (Olivia de Havilland). Falling in love with Linnet, John vows to protect her land from the covetous machinations of Burleigh and his brood. It is during the climactic set-to between good guys and bad that David at long last finds his voice again.