Ferguson, President Chester Arthur's personal agent and a Elizabeth Blythe, a beautiful reporter travel to Tombstone to report about the lawlessness that appears to be rampant in the boomtown. Both agent and reporter are captured by the notorious Chandler gang with Elizabeth being held hostage until Hollister releases Joe Chandler from his jail.
An ex-convict recently released in Yuma prison convinces a wheelwright shop owner to give him a chance when the man's assistant was found murdered under mysterious circumstances. He soon proves his worth with his tools and his fists and is given the job or delivering a mine owner's newly repaired buggy just when the mine payroll is expected.
Local hardcase Jess Buckhorn tries to kill Little Hawk, whom he accuses of stealing the mission's horses. Sheriff Hollister insists that the Apache be held for trial, angering attorney Fred Griffin who leads a lynch mob to the Tombstone jail. While Harris Claibourne holds the mob at bay with his shotgun, Clay and his deputies slip Little Hawk out the back door and into the old Spanish mission. The Indian breaks out of the room where he's held prisoner, forcing Clay to track him into the nearby mountains where other Apache renegades roam.
Jay Pell, an Eastern journalist looking for stories about the Wild West, arranges for a stagecoach hold-up that turns deadly when outlaw Sam Crane guns down the shotgun guard. One killing wasn't enough for the story the reporter is determined to right, so Pell tries to prod Sheriff Hollister and Crane into confronting each other in a deadly gunfight.
Neer-do-well Ron Browning tries to pay for his own obituary in Harris' newspaper before the subject is even dead. When Harris refuses, Browning pulls a gun and attempts suicide but the newspaper editor manages to wrestle the pistol away before the young man can do himself harm. Clay learns that Ron didn't want to face his fiancée who wrote him that she would soon be arriving by stage and locks him in jail for self-protection. When a criminal in the next cell breaks jail, he forces Ron to join him as a hostage.
October 20, 1883 - Territorial Governor Armstrong arrives in Tombstone just ahead of Kansas Joe Barton, who has been released from Yuma Prison and has sworn to kill him. However, Lt. Governor Owens is actually the man who's trying to assassinate the Governor. Clay knows that Kansas Joe Barton is innocent of the written threat on the Governor's life because Kansas Joe never learned to read and write.