Matt is critically wounded while attempting to arrest super-fast gunman Dan Grat. Grat runs rampant in Dodge while Matt recovers, but is unpleasantly surprised when the recovered marshal challenges him again.
Temperatures are high, tempers are short, and Matt is unenviably duty-bound to protect despicable gunman Cope Borden from being lynched by a group of normally law-abiding and hard-working ranchers and cowhands.
Hank Springer who claims the sheriff of Mingo framed him for murder, escapes from Matt's jail, wrongly believing he has killed a deputy in the process, and now has the intention of killing the apparently corrupt sheriff.
Holdup man John Henry Jordan repeatedly escapes conviction by robbing only the wealthy and sparing poorer persons who are potential witnesses against him. His luck runs out when Matt's efforts force him to victimize ordinary citizens.
Amos Cartwright is an Indian scout for the army and is suspected of deliberately allowing his troop to be ambushed by the Comanches, and now the brother of one of the dead soldiers, is planning to kill him.
Far from Dodge and without a horse Matt Dillon still manages to bring in Lee Trimble...a man wanted for murder. Lee's brother Dolph swears that he'll get him out. Meanwhile, an old friend of Dillon's, Hack Prine, has arrived in Dodge to take a job. Happy to see each other they reminisce about old times both unaware that the job Hack is in Dodge for is killing Dillon.
After Matt exposes gambler Ben Sissle as a cheat, Sissle attempts to extract revenge by giving brain-damaged Cooter Smith a gun and telling the marshal that Cooter plans to challenge him to a gunfight.
The stage coach arrives in Dodge carrying two distinct personalities. Sam Keeler, a loud braggart of a man who boasts he can beat any man with his fists and Seth Tandy a quiet, meek man who refuses to raise his hands in violence. Keeler tries to provoke Tandy into a fight and Dillon is forced to intervene to prevent Tandy's beating. Soon Keeler has a grudge against Tandy and Dillon which will lead to an inevitable confrontation between Keeler and Dillon.