G.W. McLintock (John Wayne) lives the single life on his ranch, but his estranged wife lives out on the East Coast. She thinks McLintock is an adulterer, and lives in an uncivilized world.
A group of homesteaders moves to the town of McLintock, and G.W. advises them against farming there. The land is made for cattle, and not farms. McLintock hires a widow to do the cooking and cleaning on his ranch, and gives her son, Dev, a job.
Once day, Katie, McLintock’s wife, returns home, and asks him for a divorce. He refuses to grant it, and claims not understand why she’s still angry at him.
One of the settlers believes an Indian has kidnapped his daughter, and McLintock rushes off to the mob. He stops their lynching of the Chief, and it sets off a big muddy brawl between the townsfolk and settlers. The high-society girl, Katie, dukes it out with them too, and pokes them in the ass with her hat pin.
Their daughter, Becky, soon returns to town from college, and falls for Dev. Also on the train is Chief Puma of the Comanche. He is the blood brother of G.W., and an honored enemy. The federal government releases him from prison, but the governor seeks to push all indians off their land. The governor calls for a hearing on the indians, and McLintock acts as the Comanche’s spokesperson and translator.
He orders the Comanche to move to Oklahoma, and imprisons the chiefs yet again. McLintock breaks them out of jail, which attracts the attention of the U.S. Cavalry. Washington D.C. now knows what the governor is doing, and sets out to remove the governor from office.
By the Fourth of July, McLintock tires completely by Kate’s behavior, and he chases her through town. He catches her, and spanks Katie like a little girl, and then consents to a divorce. However, Katie changes her mind, and reconciles with G.W., and that, my friends, is the power of the mighty rod!