Without a job, family or acquaintances, Friendless decides to sell all his worldly belongings to an unsympathetic storeowner for $1.65. Buying a loaf of bread and a whole bologna from the man, Friendless has only five cents left, so he decides to hop a freight train to New York City to seek his fortune. The big city's rhythm of life literally runs Friendless into the ground, so its back to the train yard where he finds a purse that contains a tiny revolver, but no money. Recalling the advice of Horace Greeley, he climbs into another freight car and heads for the West Coast. The car is filled with barrels of potatoes that shift and roll at the slightest movement. Friendless takes refuge in an empty one and accidentally rolls out of the moving train somewhere in Arizona.
Friendless wanders into the Diamond Bar Ranch and gets a job as a hired hand. His comical attempt at milking a cow, rounding up cattle, and trying to ride a mule instead of a horse, prove that he is really just a tenderfoot. Brown Eyes, a cow that is going to be sold because she doesn't give milk, limps by Friendless, who removes a large stone that was caught in the animal's hoof. It's love at first sight for the cow, which now follows the perplexed Friendless everywhere. Brown Eyes reciprocates the favor by saving Friendless just as he's about to be gored by a charging steer. Later, Friendless and Brown Eyes spend the night looking out for each other.
The next morning Friendless overhears that the Ranch Owner must ship 1,000 head of cattle, or the business will be ruined. The Rancher tells him to put a brand mark on Brown Eyes, but Friendless doesn't have the heart to do it. Instead, he makes his own version of the Diamond Bar brand using shaving soap and a razor. Then a steer "bullies" the hornless Brown Eyes, so he fashions a pair of deer antlers on her head. When Friendless finds out that Brown Eyes is to be shipped out with the herd, he's horrified and offers to buy her from the Rancher, who refuses. The Rancher's daughter, who's taken a liking to Friendless, begs her father to give him the cow, but fails to convince him. As the cattle are loaded onto the train, Friendless, in a last ditch effort to save the cow, bets all his wages in a poker game and loses.
Unable to abandon his beloved friend, Friendless sneaks aboard the cattle car to ride with Brown Eyes all the way to the stockyard. A train holdup and shoot-out erupt between the Rancher's men and a group trying to prevent the herd from being shipped, leaving Friendless alone with the cattle on the moving train. Arriving in Los Angeles, Friendless decides to save Brown Eyes and help the Rancher by personally delivering his herd to the stockyard.
There's mayhem as Friendless and Brown Eyes stroll along the busy downtown streets with the huge herd following behind. Friendless parks Brown Eyes at a city lot and then tries to round up the now disorderly cattle that have run amuck in a candy store, dress shop, barber shop, the Turkish baths and even a china shop. The fire department's futile attempt to spray the steer into one group, only douses half the city's populace instead. Friendless, remembering that red is a steer's favorite color, dresses in a devil's costume and taunts the herd to chase him. A stampede begins with the steer and the police in hot pursuit of Friendless, who jumps on the back of Brown Eyes, and heads for the stockyard.
Once herded into the yard, Friendless removes the costume under the watchful eyes of the Rancher and his daughter, who have come to check on the cattle's status. The grateful Rancher tells Friendless that he can have anything he wants. When Friendless states that he wants her, the Rancher takes offense thinking that Friendless wants his daughter, only to happily find out that it's Brown Eyes that he really desires. Off into the sunset they ride, the Rancher, his daughter, Friendless and Brown Eyes, all in the Rancher's car. — Janice Agnello