After promising a seriously wounded outlaw that he will get him to town alive to stand trial, Bonner meets five men, including a doctor, who want to bring the man in. But then Bonner learns that the five have just taken part in a lynching, and he becomes concerned that they will do the same with this prisoner.
Bonner finds a wounded man on the road, and brings him to the house of a an embittered woman who lives alone. He promises her he won't tell about the man at her place, but he later learns that the man is a wanted outlaw.
Everybody in the town of Copper Springs is eager to credit Bonner with the shooting of legendary gunman Jett King - including King himself, who doesn't want his reputation destroyed by letting it be known that the real shooter was a mild-mannered bank teller.
The widow of a general insists her husband is still alive, though Bonner and everyone else knows that no one survived the massacre at the fort he commanded. Believing her to be delusional, a local rancher wants to have her sent to the state hospital so he can claim her land.
Stopping in the town of Harmony to visit his old friend Doc Cross, Bonner learns that the ruthless Cotten brothers and an infamous gunfighter plan to take control of the town and intimidate anyone planning to vote against them in the coming election. Reluctantly, thanks to the Doc, Bonner is put in the position of acting as Sheriff himself.
A young killer robs the telegraph office and guns down the clerks. Why is Sheriff Lawson reluctant to get up a posse or even to interview the surviving clerk? Vint Bonner comes into town and prods the sheriff into upholding the law.
Vint Bonner reluctantly befriends Wilbur English, a sniveling coward who betrayed his outlaw gang in return for a reward and pardon. Wilbur is fearful of deadly retaliation and looks to Bonner for protection.
Bonner intercedes in a delicate family situation when a wandering gambler returns to reconcile with the young son he abandoned eight years earlier. The boy believes his daddy is dead, and Bonner believes it's best to keep it that way.
On Christmas Eve Bonner and the Marshal capture "El Bruto," a super-strong but mute giant of a man accused of murder. The three men seek refuge for the night in a Spanish Mission where the resident orphans are reenacting the miracle of Christmas.
Bonner meets two brothers on the trail, one of whom he worked with in the past. The two claim to be with a posse that is searching for the robbers who held up a stage and killed an elderly deaf passenger. Actually, they are the ones who committed the act.