Matt doubts the veracity of Long Branch hostess Holly Fanshaw's claim that she saw trail drover Fly Hoyt murder young Dave Thorp. His suspicions increase further when Hoyt voluntarily returns to Dodge in order to clear his name.
Matt and Chester, out of water while riding back to Dodge, come upon a man with two fine horses who is not very trusting. When they meet him later in Dodge, he is much different: friendly and spending money freely.
A stagecoach on which Matt and Chester are riding is robbed and another passenger is murdered. Matt utilizes a ruse to incriminate the thieves when a "cowboy" appears and offers to show him where one of the thieves may be buried.
Two gamblers find Matt incorruptible and attempt to intimidate him by hiring gunman Toque Morlan. The two are ironically unaware that Morlan was Matt's close friend until a long-ago attack by a mob left Morlan scarred and harboring a bitter grudge against lawmen.
Financially desperate Jack Fitch robs a stagecoach and abducts passenger Laura Church, unaware that she is "engaged" to an unscrupulous businessman who threatened to ruin her father if he did not agree to the marriage.
An old friend of Doc's, a nurse, is visiting and he hopes she will stay around Dodge. In the meantime Matt is worried that an ex-con is gunning for him even though he thought he was innocent five years ago.
Trail boss Dolph Quince sends for his friend Matt to help escort his cattle herd into Dodge because he is having trouble with Jayhawkers (Kansas renegades), and he hopes to ease the animosity his men have towards all Kansans.
A family friend of Kitty's visits from New Orleans and is shocked to find her a saloonkeeper. Still, the young man is determined to defend the lady's honor, a stance that could get him killed in rowdy Dodge.
A coward gambler, who's too cheap to hire a gunman, wants Matt dead for a beating he got from him years ago, so he starts some talk around Dodge about the big reputation any person could gain, if they simply killed Matt.
A gunfight in the Long Branch forces Matt to arrest a drunk. Letting him go since it was a fair fight, he suspects him of selling guns to the Indians, and goes after him even though he may run into those Indians.
Gunman Kin Creed arrives in Dodge determined to enhance his reputation by outdrawing Matt in a gunfight. He goes to great lengths to force Matt into a confrontation and is able to wound him, but it proves to be a pyrrhic victory.
Seriously injured Matt faces a moral dilemma when Blue Horse saves his life and prevents the escape of a prisoner. The Marshal knows that Blue Horse is being sought by the Cavalry as a fugitive from a reservation, and he is well aware that he is duty-bound to assist their search in any way possible.
Matt seeks the help of wise Chief Long Robe to track down gunrunners who are supplying renegade Cheyenne braves with rifles used to murder prairie-dwelling families. Long Robe provides Matt with the needed information, but warns him that the death of even a single brave could lead to a violent uprising.