A young private has deserted from the Army and is riding on a freight wagon with a manipulative woman who claims to love him. An Army sergeant, assigned to look for deserters, joins the ride and recognizes the woman from his own past.
A newly appointed schoolteacher refuses to cave in to the demands of a gunman that he leave town. But he can't convince his wife of the importance of not backing down, even though the gunman has vowed to face him in a showdown if he doesn't leave, and the teacher has not fired a gun since he was in the war.
When Russ Andrews' oldest son is killed by a young punk who goaded him into drawing first, his wife begs him to stay away from the killer, but that's not so easy, as whenever Russ comes into town to buy supplies, the punk does his best to goad him as well.
Headstrong Consuela Bowers tries to resist her attraction to the intriguing drifter whom her father has hired on for their ranch, not knowing that he is plotting with a pair of horse thieves to steal their prize stallion.
Several of the town's leading citizens think that Sheriff John Larson is getting too old for the job and should not run for reelection, but Larson disagrees. He gets the chance to put himself to the test when he must pursue two outlaws, and insists on trailing them alone.
Before he dies, Jace Rawlins' father asks him to promise to stay and work his half of the ranch which will be split between Jace and his brother Noah. But Jace wants to roam first and doesn't intend to stay, causing friction between him and Noah, over both the ranch and Noah's wife.
Sheriff Morgan Winter decides to give a young man involved in a shooting another chance by taking him into his custody for a year. But the rest of the town, including Winter's deputy, just wants to see the boy fail and get sent up to prison.
Lawyer Jud Lester is just arriving in town right after a robbery when he finds one of the robbers hiding in his office wounded. The robber passes out and people in town assume that Jud shot him, and treat him as a hero. Unfortunately Jud decides to let them keep thinking this, and helps make plans to capture the rest of the gang when the captured man is scheduled to be hanged. But things may backfire.
Sarah Jolland hires war hero Cleve Scott as foreman of her ranch. But her real plan is to use his gun skills in fighting a range war with a neighboring rancher over water rights, an idea Scott does not like. Sarah is even willing to risk her grandson in the showdown, much to the distress of her daughter-in-law.
Gunfighter Will Gorman visits his old friend Colonel Overton. Gorman is tired of the gunman's way of life, and hopes to settle down. But Overton's wife, an old flame, is bored of her husband and wants to run away with him, and Overton's nephew wants to follow in Gorman's footsteps and become a gunslinger himself.
Rancher Roger Morrow fires his hand Jed Wiley because he knows his daughter Ellen is falling for Jed. Jed and Ellen get married and leave town together, but then a bounty hunter tells Morrow that Jed is wanted for murder.
Sheriff Adam Prescott begins to suspect that the drifter who he has taken into his house may be the Army doctor whom he blames for the loss of his leg in the Civil War. He thus tries to keep the man from leaving town, hoping to goad him into a showdown.
Local fast gun Tod Owen guns down a man who was trying to shoot him from a rooftop. Everyone in town hates the trouble-making Owen and would like to convict and hang him quickly, except for Cob Oakley, who wants to make sure he gets a fair trial, even after Owen breaks jail.
Sheriff Tom Baker is temporarily unable to use his right arm, which puts him at a disadvantage dealing with some wild cowboys. A young man named Lane helps Baker out---by killing one of the cowboys. The mayor hires Lane as Baker's temporary deputy. But Baker is not pleased, as Lane is his younger brother who he feels is way too anxious to use his gun to kill.
A man arrives in the town of Bitter Creek, and affects several people by his presence. An old singing cowboy assumes him to be gunman Dan Case. The man anxiously watches the clock and wonders who may be out to draw against him. A saloon hostess is attracted to him, but he is attracted to the beautiful sister of a young tough who hopes to challenge him to avenge his humiliation.
This is the pilot for the series "The Rifleman". Lucas and Mark McCain enter the town of North Fork, hoping to buy a small ranch, but they encounter trouble from a shady businessman and a young punk gunfighter.
Doc Holliday visits an old friend and his wife. He finds that his friend, now crippled, is being shaken down for money by the corrupt local sheriff, along with everyone else in town, and he plans to put a stop to it.
The cattleman who runs the town doesn't like Dr. Alan McMurdo because he spends too much time treating homesteaders, and doesn't want him to take over as the town's main doctor when the old one retires. McMurdo faces another challenge when he is called to treat a young man who was shot while attempting to rob the cattleman's money.
Logan Wheeler tries to bring Raney Benson in for a bank robbery in which Wheeler's father lost all his savings. But the tables are turned, in more ways than one, when Logan is bitten by a rattlesnake and Benson brings him in to his father and sister's house.
When Marshal Tolby learns that Ben Kincaid is wanted for murder, he feels he must arrest him and take him to Prescott for trial, even though Kincaid is regarded as a hero by the townsfolk and beg Tolby to let him go free.
The sheriff needs a deputy, but the only one volunteering for the job is Ben Cary, whom everyone thinks is too old for the job. When an outlaw, ill due to a snakebite, arrives at his farm, Ben sees a chance to prove he's still up to the job.
Lawyer Clay Culhane doesn't get the job with the mining company that he was first promised, after they learn he was once a famous gunfighter. But he soon finds a new client, a Mexican rancher friend who is accused of killing the man who he believes stole his land from him. This is the pilot for the series "Black Saddle" which premiered a year later, with Peter Breck in the role of Culhane.
Two government surveyors find an old ghost town inhabited by a group of former Confederates. The residents do not want their presence in the town known to outsiders, and so they refuse to let the surveyors leave, even though they recognize one as a Confederate hero.