Earp jails Ben Thompson in the hope that his mentally unstable brother Bill will attempt a jailbreak, but the Marshal underestimates the misguided and naive ruthlessness of young Abbie Crandall, who is also determined to help Ben escape.
Wyatt Earp's insistence on patiently stalking the Thompson brothers with a pair of Indian scouts (rather than a posse) doesn't set well with some influential Ellsworth citizens who demand immediate pursuit and capture of the two fugitives.
Wyatt leaves Ellsworth and becomes the Marshall of Wichita. His first challenge is a group of local vigilantes so intent on hanging a local Faro dealer that they are concealing evidence that he was acting in self-defense.
Bennett hires a gunman to shoot Earp who brags he has faced down Earp before. However, Earp doesn't know him so he suspects there is more to the gunman's story. After trying to determine who the gunman is, Earp decides he must face him.
Earp is blamed for the back shooting of the saloon owner Bennett after exposing his crooked games. Earp is the only person to use copper jacketed bullets in Wichita which is what was dug out of the wounded Bennett's back.
After Earp kicks Bennett out of Wichita for a crooked Faro game, Bennett hires the killer Manon Clemens to kill Earp and have his cowboys tree the town. Earp uses trickery to defeat Clemens who kills Bennett for deceiving him.
Jehn Wesley Hardin comes to Wichita to revenge Earp running his friend Clemens out of Wichita. Hardin has told his wife he is happy to leave and continue to Nebraska but he has several gun tricks one of which he plans to use on Earp.
Wounded bank robber Clem Parker and his girl Bonnie Dawson want no part of Tarp Anders' brash gang of thieves, but Wyatt isn't sure whether to believe Bonnie's story that the Anders gang plans to rob the Union Bank without Parker.
Texan A.H. 'Shanghai' Pierce tries to use his money and influence to make Wichita an open town again by hiring a well known actress to get to Earp. Next, after a card game he tries offering Earp a partnership in the saloon he bought.
Earp is pushed into being chairman of the Wichita baby contest run by the local women. When a broke, hungry woman with a baby arrives in Wichita, the doctor and Earp enter her in the contest but find a hidden rule may ruin their plans.
Local gamblers feeling pressure from Marshall Earp concoct a scheme to force the mayor of Wichita, Kansas to get rid of Marshal Earp. A fearless journalist backs Wyatt despite pressure from gambling interests.
An immature rancher's son forced to sell a herd at at a low price tries to make up the difference in a poker game while drunk and loses. Earp refuses to help since no law was broken so the son takes matters into his own hands.
A little man with a brash manner and a large gun visits Wichita hoping to interest Marshall Earp in joining a Wild West Show. He provides Earp with a new gun that becomes a Wyatt Earp trademark - his Buntline Special.
Earp has been using sanitary laws to close crooked saloons as Ben Thompson comes to Wichita to open one. Ben feels a debt of gratitude toward Earp but it causes problems as the rest of the saloon operators have men gunning for Earp.