Tumbleweeds marked silent-screen cowboy legend William S. Hart's return to the screen after a long absence, and it was also his swan song, as Hart's brand of individualism and moody morality gave way to the more action-oriented films of Tom Mix and the epic westerns of The Covered Wagon and The Iron Horse. Tumbleweeds takes place in 1899 when the Cherokee Strip was opened up to homesteaders. When that happens, Don Carver (Hart), the range boss for the Box K Ranch, finds himself out of work. Carver falls in love with Molly Lassiter (Barbara Bedford), the daughter of one of the families of homesteaders who have gathered in Caldwell, Kansas, preparing for the big land rush. Carver joins up with the homesteaders in the hope that he can get a piece of land and claim the site of the Box K ranchhouse, which controls the water for the strip. But he is falsely arrested and has to break free to take part in the land rush. Although King Baggot is credited as the sole director, Hart co-directed the film.