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Heavyweight prizefighter Mountain Rivera is knocked out in the 7th round after suffering a brutal beating from a young contender. Upon learning from his doctor that he may become blind, Mountain quits the ring. Army, his trainer, and Maish Rennick, his manager, are equally distressed that Mountain's 17-year career has ended, especially since Maish assured gambler Ma Greeny that Mountain would not last beyond the early rounds; the manager is now faced with repaying her losses. Desperate for work, Mountain visits a state unemployment agency and wins the sympathy of Grace Miller, a young social worker. When Grace arranges an interview between Mountain and an elderly couple seeking an athletic director for their summer camp, Maish ruins the deal by deliberately getting Mountain drunk before the meeting. The manager, who needs $3000 to pay Ma Greeny, then proposes that Mountain commercialize on his American Indian ancestry by becoming a wrestler. Mountain, appalled to learn that Maish bet against him in the final bout, initially refuses the deal but finally relents when he realizes that Maish's life will be endangered if he fails to raise the money. As Mountain walks into the arena in his Indian suit, the crowd starts laughing at him; stripped of all dignity, he performs a war dance and waves his tomahawk at the jeering audience.