Two drifters, Robert and William, are driving across the desert in their battered pickup truck. Ned Bantlin is chasing them on a motorcycle and they try to outrun him, and then pull off behind an old sign. They spot a man on a motorcycle behind them and try to outrun him. Ned drives by and misses them. Robert explains that Ned is always following them, picking up on whatever harvests they happen to find. Robert and William continue on William wonders if their luck is changing. Robert says it is, and pulls off. He admits he doesn't know why he pulled off and there doesn't seem to be anything there. Robert looks out and sees a mighty city in the distance. He explains that it's a mirage, reflecting a city from hundreds of miles away, and it's a gift they shouldn't examine too carefully. William looks at it and sees something different, and Robert figures each person who views it sees what they want.
They get out of the car and William figures the mirage is just for them, but Robert notices hundreds of tire tracks in the ground. He suggests they set up camp, improve the property, and homestead the mirage. Robert figures that even if they keep it for just one day, they can make money from it and they have nothing to lose.
Robert paints a sign advertising the mirage and charging a dollar per car. They set up on the road with their sign. Nobody pulls over at first but finally a man and his wife stop by. Robert assures them they don't have to pay if they're not satisfied. The couple stares at the city mirage in wonder and holds hands, and sees it as their hearts' deepest desire. As the couple prepares to leave, Robert insists they paid too much but the man is satisfied.
William takes over and starts bringing the people in. Much to their astonishment, each person who sees the city sees something different. One person sees Rome, another sees Paris, a farmer sees London. The two men don't understand and watch as another man sees it as Xanadu, a miracle of rare device. He tries to pay them twice over and William takes the money despite Robert's protest. Robert realizes that the mirage is something different to each person and insists they have to do right by it. William insists they are because they're making money from it.
Ned arrives but doesn’t see anything. He wants to know what kind of con they're pulling and insists that they're pals. Ned explains he's been watching them the entire day and been reading lips, and tells them to get off his property. He shows them that he filed a homestead claim on the land and tells them to turn over the money they made before he shoots them as trespassers. Robert asks one more time and Ned insists there's nothing out there. The two drifters leave as Ned starts collecting money from new visitors.
Robert and William watch, and Robert insists that it ain't right to make money from a natural miracle. He figures Ned did them a favor by showing that they're not villains, and villains come to them for their luck. William figures Ned is due for some bad luck and Robert spots something. They watch as the visitors start demanding their money. Ned finally leaves in disgust, knocking down the admission sign as he goes.
William and Robert drive back down and discover the mirage has vanished. Robert admits he feels sorry for Ned because he never saw or believed. William suggests they try and open it up again but has no idea how. He wonders if they're the pure of heart, and Robert figures they're not like the kids and the old folk, and maybe they should just relax and let it come. One couple pulls up and Robert lets them watch free of charge. He tells William to watch, and the couple and their two children stare and point out that they can see it. Robert and William peer off and Robert says to take it easy. Finally they can see the mirage again in all its glory.
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