Marshal Simon Fry tricks Clay McCord, a young storekeeper into taking a wagon full of supplies to remote town knowing that the groceries are expected by the notorious Gentry gang who the lawman hopes to capture. Fry knows that McCord is a crack shot with nerves of steel. He also knows that McCord would never have accepted a deputy's badge since he has a younger sister and brother to support.
Heck Ransom and his men capture Tom Deaver, a notorious renegade wanted for supplying gunpowder to the Apaches. Heck's journey to Prescott with his prisoner is endangered when a garrulous telegrapher spreads the word of Deaver's capture - word that reaches the prisoner's Indian allies.
Ches Vantage, an ex-convict gone straight, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his son, newly certified as a veterinarian. Ches doesn't realize that his son learned his trade while in prison and a gunfighter with a grievance has trailed the young man from Kansas to Arizona looking for a showdown.
A murderous outlaw gang has attacked a number of smelting operations and seized numerous gold bars. An ex-convict, recently released from prison and determined to go straight, stumbles upon on one of the hold-ups and discovers his son is a member of the gang. The old criminal decides to take the blame for the crimes himself to protect his son's wife and children.
Marshal Fry is convinced of trouble when he learns that three unsavory bounty hunters are heading for Silver City. Not wanting her brother to get involved, Fran McCord arranges for Clay to guide a party of settlers across the Badlands to their new ranches. Fran's plan doesn't' work - the bounty hunters are after a member of the party Clay is leading.
When three town marshals are murder near Silver City, Arizona Territory's chief marshal, Simon Fry, sends aging lawman Herk Lamson on vacation and sets a trap with himself for bait. He learns four strangers have recently arrived in town - one claiming to be a salesman, one a musician, one a gambler and one a rancher - all of whom visited the towns were the lawmen were recently shot in the back.
A highly organized outlaw gang has robbed banks, trains and stagecoaches throughout southern Arizona. When Marshal Fry learns that four of the West's most notorious outlaws - Billy the Kid, Curly Bill Brocius, Ike Clanton and Johnny Ringo - have dropped out of sight, he fears that they have joined forces. Clay McCord stumbles upon a clue to the gang's whereabouts and, using a pair of homing pigeons, hopes to communicate their location to Simon Fry before their next raid.
Clay finds a note in a murdered man's pocket that threatens death to Heck Lamson. Marshal Fry is convinced that the crime is linked to a sensational trial held the previous year where a woman was convicted of murdering her husband and her brother's vowed vengeance.
Marshal Simon Fry is trailing a gang of outlaws that specialize in abducting a loved one of town's most prominent citizen and then forcing that man to help stage a spectacular robbery. Little does he know that Fran McCord has been kidnapped to ensure Clay cooperates with the gang's plan to steal a $20,000 mine payroll.
A widow with a young son marches into a church service and loudly denounces her neighbors as land-hungry thieves who are trying to drive her off her ranch. Clay investigates and finds evidence of fence cutting and the widow's cattle being rustled - but he also finds indications that the evidence was created by someone trying to throw the blame on the neighboring ranchers.
When two wagons full of repeating rifles are stolen by an Apache raiding party, Marshal Fry decides that the problem is more than his small staff can handle and sends for the Army. Clay is convinced that the Apaches must have a reason to steal the rifles and is determined to resolve the issue peaceably before the soldiers can arrive and possible start another Indian war.
Clay McCord stops a covered wagon that careened through town and discovers three young children inside, but finds no sign of the parents. The children's parents are eventually found murdered so, when Simon Fry discovers their money hidden in the wagon, he sets a trap for the murderers that Fran McCord nearly spoils by accident.
Marshal Heck Lamson gets the drop on a murderous escaped prisoner in a dark hotel room. When the gunman reaches for a match in his pocket, Heck thinks he's going for his gun and winds up shooting the man in the back. The townspeople refuse to except Heck's explanation of his actions, so when two outlaws come looking to avenge their dead confederate, no one is willing to pin on a deputy badge - no one, but Clay McCord, that is.
While visiting a border town to determine if he should set up a general store, Clay McCord is framed for the murder of the town drunk. Marshal Simon Fry arrives after Clay has been sentenced to hang for the murder and has only five days to produce evidence exonerating his favorite deputy. In order to find that evidence, Simon must determine why Clay was framed for the murder in the first place.
A mute gunfighter with a distinctive scar around his throat arrives in Silver City and proceeds to provoke two gunfights, resulting in the deaths of the two citizens. Even though the mayor and town's business leaders demand action, Marshal Lamson can't arrest the gunslick because he didn't draw first either time. Clay attempts to find the reason for the gunman's apparently senseless vendetta.
While trying to arrest a notorious band of cattle rustlers, Clay shoots a childhood friend who approached him from behind. Clay is stricken with remorse, since he's not sure if the man was a rustler or just heard the shooting and rode to investigate. To complicate matters, Clay's efforts to console the pretty widow are misinterpreted as romantic feelings.
An outlaw abducts Silver City's doctor to attend to his brother who was shot during a hold-up. Clay manages to kill the kidnapper but the doctor refuses to leave his patient and requests that Clay assist him with the operation to remove the bullet from the wounded man's stomach.
Chief Marshal Simon Fry narrowly escapes an assassination attempt and the charred body of the hired killer is mistakenly identified as his own. While Clay and Fran McCord lead the mourners at Simon's graveside funeral, the wily lawman uses his supposed death to trap the would-be killers.
Simon Fry attempts to gather evidence against a sophisticated gang that is attempting to monopolize general stores in Arizona by driving all their competition out of business. When none of the store owners are willing to testify, Clay agrees to pretend to sell his shop and then cozy up to the woman he believes is the leader of the criminals.
The youngest member of a notorious gang of outlaw brothers is wounded and captured after a bank robbery. Fran is smitten and Clay is impressed with the boy's willingness to turn his back on his life of crime. Meanwhile Marshal Fry is convinced his brothers will attempt to break him out of jail and warns Herk and Clay to be alert for trouble.
After being injured at a rally in Prescott, Agnes Stone, a spunky suffragette requests protection from the marshal's men at her next rally in Silver City. Her cause is thwarted by Hodges, who fears that if women get the vote, they'll use their political clout to close down his chain of saloons and dance halls. When Agnes starts to impress the menfolk with her whiskey drinking and bronc busting exploits, Hodges determines to take desperate measures and orders his men to abduct his female foe.
Compelled by a wealthy landowner to rescue his kidnapped daughter, Clay McCord gets a job in the mine owned by Evan Sloate, the girl's kidnapper. At first the girl resists being rescued, saying that Sloate is her husband, and then Sloate catches on to McCord's plan. He gives McCord a whipping and orders him off his property but McCord returns for another try at rescue.
A businessman, restricted to a wheelchair after being shot in gunfight with Clay and Fran's father years before, is determined to exact his revenge upon the children of his nemesis. He buys the mortgage on the McCords' store and robs clay of the funds to bring his note up to date. Having bankrupted the family, he imports a gunslinger to force Clay into a gunfight he doesn't want to risk.
Arizona's bankers have banded together to offer rewards for dead bank robbers. An enterprising criminal gang determines to take them up on their offer by organizing a fake bank robbery and than having the stooge killed by one of the gang in order to collect the reward. When a childhood friend of Clay's is killed in this manner, he decides to set himself up as the next victim in order to get the evidence to break up the ring.
A kind-hearted warden allows a prisoner to "escape" so that the young man can see his father one last time before he dies. Clay McCord learns that a notorious bounty hunter has learned of the "jail break" and tries to help the young man.
An outlaw gang burns down Clay McCord's general store to provide a diversion while they rob the Silver City bank. Now without a source of income, Clay is forced to pin a deputy marshal's badge on full time - at least for the time being. When Clay gets a lead to the bank robber's hideout, he determines to capture the gang by himself so he can claim the reward money and get back in business as a storekeeper.
Chief Marshal Simon Fry warns Clay to be on the lookout for a gunman who he believes was hired to settle a dispute between two ranchers over water rights. While Clay searches for the potential killer, he tries to help a young couple find a suitable piece of land to buy, only to discover that the mother is the only one who wants to settle in Silver City.
A famous gunfighter who is attempting to live down his reputation settles in Silver City under an assumed name. In spite of his precautions, the man's true identity is discovered and two troublemakers who wish to make a reputation for themselves as gunslingers attempt to draw the older man into one last gunfight.
After holding up a stagecoach and killing the shotgun guard, an outlaw is captured by Marshal Fry, convicted and sentenced to hang. Even though he is scheduled to be executed, the outlaw refuses to reveal the location of the stolen loot, which includes the money a family borrowed for an operation to save the eyesight of a young boy. Clay convinces the Bisbee marshal to allow him to spend the night in jail in hopes of persuading the killer to reveal the location of the missing strongbox.
The man who killed Clay's father in a gunfight twelve years ago arrives in Silver City and demands that the deputy serve eviction notices on properties whose titles were improperly entered. While Clay quietly researches ways to fight the land grabbing lawyer legally, the local ranchers accuse Clay of being afraid to help them.
Simon Fry suspects that an escaped convict will head for Silver City to seek help from his ex-girlfriend who works there in a gambling hall. He convinces Clay to allow the disreputable casino to remain open and baits deputy the trap with a rumor about a strongbox hidden in the town jail.
An illiterate Mexican-American believes he is signing papers certifying the health of his sheep when, in fact, his "X" now marks the spot on a deed selling his ranch to a couple of land-grabbing dudes. When the sheepherder's son is killed by the crooks, Clay investigates and learns that the pair has been conning simple folk out of their property throughout the Southwest and determines to put the men out of business permanently.
After Simon Fry is wounded chasing an escaped prisoner, he orders Clay McCord not to let anyone know that he's been hurt. Clay takes up the chase and only to be trapped by the outlaw in shacks around an abandoned mine. Armed with a bottle of whiskey, a box of bullets and a single canteen of water, the deputy marshal sets out to a win a battle of wits and wills with his wily adversary.
Even though he's been savagely beaten, Deputy Marshal Clay McCord can't tell outlaw gang members where their wounded associate has been hidden by Marshal Simon Fry, because he didn't know. When Fry is abducted by the same gang, McCord leads his posse in pursuit. He tracks the gang's progress to their hideout by pretending to be tied up and hidden under a tarpaulin in the back of a wagon, so he can remember the sound and feel of the road.
Dory Matson, an ex-convict returns to his hometown of Silver City and announces his intentions to reform. The townspeople are reluctant to accept him at his word, especially when he guns down a bully. When Doc Landy discovers that the young man amassed considerable medical knowledge while working in the prison hospital, he agrees to take Matson on as an apprentice.
An acquaintance of Clay and Fran's father arrives in Silver City searching for the stepson she hasn't seen in five years. While Clay is guiding her from mine to mine following her relative's trail, an Arkansas lawman arrives with news that the woman is an ex-convict and the stepson was a member of her gang who made off with eight thousand dollars from the outlaws' last bank robbery.