While preparing to return to St. Joseph, the men read the story "Wagon Ho" written and printed by Samuel T. Evans about his trip as a naive young Irishman headed west and his experiences and adventure on the trail.
Adams' "distant" cousin Horace arrives hoping to be a wagon master. His trading skills allow him to steal the crew and vendors from Adams but when Adams confronts him with the decisions he must make on the trail, there are second thoughts.
Arrogant British Colonel Albert Farnsworth causes an uproar in camp and puts the wagon train in danger of Indian attack and resulting in the capture of a young girl by the Cheyenne and the mortal wounding of his long time aide.
When someone yells horse thief, Flint shoots a man only to find he is the husband of a childhood friend. Flint learns the man is mayor and highly respected. The question of whether he killed an innocent man bothers him and the man's son.
Bill Hawkes is leading 3 wagons through Indian territory. They run into trouble with Mexician bandits lead by Lee Marvin. When the 2 groups must band together to fight off an Indian attack, certain biases & assumptions are thrown away.
Ordered by Major Adams to guide three passengers to a campsite up a haunted mountain, Flint does so but with caution: rumors that an escaped group of Aztecs now live there, almost 400 years after Cortez wiped them all out.
One murder begets a second murder while a treacherous journey awaits the wagon train. An unknown scout and Kiowa Indians threaten the pass. Now there may be a renegade and murderer in their midst which Adams must resolve before continuing.
Heed the signs! Or so says Samuel Bleymier. When the rains won't stop a splintered group of the wagon train has to travel through a Sioux Indian burial ground. That may have consequences all its own but what of the signs?
Gabe Henry and his son have been sorely missing the female touch over five years now. Finding a wife during a stopover is his top priority but his choice is known to Major Adams and he does not approve.
A green Army Colonel wipes out a village of Comanche women and children thinking he is getting revenge. The wagon train must face on the one side a swollen river they must cross or a Comanche chief on the other who seeks justice.
Roger Bigelow turns to the ministry with his father's help when he realizes what he might become without it. He gets the chance to help someone else on the wrong path but Major Adams is not sure the reverend is helping the right person.
When the wagon train passes through town, habitually drunk Jeremy Dow finds that his past has caught up with him. His choices: continue running, or face the demons from his past when he is confronted with this wife and son on the train.
Wounded Bill Strode arrives in camp looking for Flint. Strode, who saved Flint's life in Abilene, asks Flint to help him get to Fort Kearny. Flint learns the itchy Strode is being hunted by bounty hunter Earl Packer and Strode has changed.
A Quaker schoolteacher heads to the Arapaho nation on the wagon train when her husband is killed. She meets the Chief and his willingness to fight another Indian nation puts her right in the middle of each tribe's pride and customs.
A retired Captain and ten boys join the wagon train on their way to California. Hitching a ride was all he thought he was involving the boys in until he meets one man on the train with a secret resentment.
Bill and Major Adams plan on going hunting with a friend but when he is not home they suspect a renegade party of Cheyenne who have broken the peace treaty and the wagon train may be their next target.
At a Rocky Mountains fort , a wounded soldier asks his old friend Ruddy Blaine to bring his daughter to him before he dies. With the Ute Indians on the warpath, Blaine will have to take a dangerous route known only to him and the Shoshone.
Looking forward to some time off, Flint heads towards the town of Monument but runs into an old man and some kids whose parents were just massacred by some Mescaleros and they're running low on supplies especially milk for the baby.
When Flint brings a stranded woman and boy to the train, her husband who went off to find help is also found but his return to the train sets off tempers when four men recognize him and their only thought is murder.
A married couple use the wife's innocent face and winning way with children to gain the trust of their companions on the wagon train so that they won't be suspected when the husband pulls off a bank robbery nearby.
Flint meets Chris Hale alone on the prairie. Hale has just found his entire family massacred by Indians, and Flint asks him to join the wagon train. However, the company that owns the wagon train has hired a new wagonmaster, Jud Benedict. Benedict is a ruthless and brutal tyrant who puts time above all other considerations, and does not care how many people are left behind or even die in the process of heading to the final destination as soon as possible. He has also hired unscrupulous gunmen to enforce this goal by brutalizing slower people, or anyone who stands up ...
Bill Hawks is leading four wagons through to California when they are stopped by Tiburcio Mendez and his band of renegades, who demand they turn back. Mendez and his group claim that California is their land and that it was stolen by the later settlers. A judge traveling with Hawks' group believes that Mendez has a legitimate grievance which could be addressed by the legislature in Sacramento, and against Hawks' warning goes in to Mendez' camp to talk with him. When Hawks follows, both he and the judge are taken prisoner.
When actress Nellie Jefferson joins the wagon train, her incessant demands for special treatment come to grate on Hale and Hawks, but Wooster is totally smitten with her. Meanwhile a fanatical man from her past is following her, talking about how she will meet her fate like the biblical Jezebel.
Saul Bevins, a blind doctor traveling with his son, his sister, and his dog, asks to join the wagon train. Many others on the train object that he will slow them down, but Hale agrees to let him ride at least until the next settlement, at which time the entire wagon train will vote on whether he should continue. On the way Bevins is forced to overcome many obstacles.
Polish immigrant Joe Muharich tries to befriend and hopefully straighten out Johnny Kamen, a brash young man who doesn't take well to anyone giving orders to him. Joe has lost his wife and son to thugs, and now he reacts violently to any attempt to harass or intimidate him. When Johnny accidentally shoots a woman while reacting against drunken thugs, Joe tries to defend him. But the thugs who harassed Johnny then harass Joe and start fire to his wagon, causing Joe to react by shooting the men and killing one of them.
With his clever tall tales, old prospector Henry Shannon talks Charlie Wooster into coming with him to search for a gold mine. When Hawks finds out about this, he rides out after the two men, along with Shannon's grandson Duke. Also following the old men are three men who hope to grab the gold for themselves.
The Santee family---Will, his mother, and his younger sister---join the wagon train under a false surname. They have been forced out of town after town because of a terrible thing a family member did. They confide in Hale, Hawks, and Charlie, who agree to keep their secret from the others on the train. But it soon comes out anyway, and things get complicated when Will falls for a young woman from the wagon train.
An Army general announces he is taking over the wagon train and requiring all members to act as soldiers in helping him rescue a trapped cavalry garrison of 120 men who are otherwise likely to be slaughtered by hostile Utes. Flint, temporarily in charge of the wagon train, has little choice but to agree to the general's demand, as much as he hates it and his passengers want him to fight back. Particularly upsetting to Flint is learning that the man who recommended this takeover was Jim Bridger, a legendary frontiersman and scout who mostly raised Flint and whom he ...
Flint goes to visit Eleanor Culhane, an old flame of his who had been married to a notorious gunman. He finds everyone in the town she lives in shunning her, and unwilling to discuss her, because they blame her for her husband's misdeeds and the shame he caused the town. When Flint finds her they begin to rekindle their romance. But then her husband, thought dead for the last five years, shows up in town. And Flint realizes there is another side to Eleanor that he was unaware of as well.
An Italian immigrant couple needs help in transporting water for their grapevines to California. Unfortunately, the two men who offer the use of their wagon plan to steal the treasure they've heard the immigrants are carrying in return for their services.
After losing one of her children in an accident, a woman is bitter with the wagon train and plans to turn back east, while her husband wishes to continue west. Hale, trying to persuade her to continue on, tells her the story of his own trip west with his family and the ensuing tragedy.
Flint comes across four survivors of an Indian massacre, the two Ellison sisters and two Carder brothers. One of the sisters is deaf and mute. The brothers are the only survivors of their Army unit. The older brother, Joe, wants to desert and take advantage of the situation in order to break away and look for gold. The younger brother, George, is simple-minded and good-hearted but loyal to the older one who raised him. Flint tries to lead the four to safety, but Joe Carder tries to mislead the Ellison sisters into believing that Flint is leading them into danger.