Laird Garner is given a disproportional share of the credit for routing a gang of hold-up men and, in short order, finds backing for his bank an gets himself elected as the mayor of Cimarron City. Garner has even bigger ideas - aided by a crooked sheriff and villainous bunch of deputies, he soon gains a financial stranglehold on the booming town.
A gang of gunslingers recruits their newest member - John Hartman Jr., the son of another notorious shootist who is trying to live up to his father's reputation. The outlaws threaten Cimarron City with destruction and kidnap two of its younger citizens to enforce the point. Will Buckley refuses to help the town prepare to fight the criminals because he recognizes his young son as one of the gang's members.
Reports of a monster who kills people and mauls livestock outside of Cimarron City panics the local citizenry. Mayor Matt Rockford and Deputy Sheriff Lane Temple organize a search party to capture or kill the legendary beast without success. Meanwhile the killings continue and Beth Purcell mysteriously disappears.
Matt Rockford and his men rescue a tinhorn gambler from three cowhands who claim that they had been cheated by the man they were trying to kill. Rockford lets the cardplayer go on his way and the man sets up shop in Cimarron City, much to the disgust of many of its citizens.
A gunfighter who abandoned his son, Webb Martin, many years ago tracks him down in Cimarron City determined to make amends. When the father rescues Webb from a murderous gambler, the youth decides to try to put aside his bitter feelings only to discover that his father isn't the misunderstood man he portrays himself as.
Cimarron City's businessmen hopes of organizing the big Founders' Day celebration without their wives' knowledge are soon dashed. The women determine that a little culture is need for the festivities and assign the men their roles in their version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol'. Just before the big day, the child selected to play Tiny Tim announces that he won't go on stage unless his father can see his performance. Unfortunely the man has been arrested in a neighboring town for stealing chickens.
Beth Purcell befriends her newest boardinghouse customer, Drew McGowan, an ex-convict recently released from prison who has returned to Cimarron City determined to find out who framed him for the crime for which he was falsely imprisoned. The guilty parties determine to get rid of McGowan before he can exact his revenge.