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.
Clay is curious and concerned when Chief Marshal Fry insists on personally handling the investigation into the activities of a pair of swindlers, one of whom happens to be a beautiful young blonde. Clay learns that the young woman is the daughter of woman who spurned his love more than twenty years ago and the deputy fears that Simon may be allowing his personal feelings to cloud his professional judgment.
Marshal Simon Fry's sets a trap for a gang preying on local gold mines and the evidence points to the involvement of one his deputy marshals. After Fry rescues the disgraced lawman from a lynch mob, he realizes who really provided the inside information the gang needed to operate, but too late to prevent a jail break that could be fatal to former marshal.
While Simon pursues a notorious outlaw in the high desert, Clay and Sarge investigate the robbery and murder of a prominent businessman. The man's niece provides a description that matches the clothes worn by her brother, but Clay wonders if Simon's quarry might not be involved in the crime he's trying to solve.
Clay's assignment of escorting a beautiful woman to a New Orleans murder trial quickly turns from pleasure to menacing when Simon Fry boards their riverboat with news that the father of the accused man has hired numerous killers to murder the star witness before he can testify.
Simon orders Clay to escort a beautiful blonde murderess to Yuma prison and her date with the gallows. Clay's decision to leave his badge behind in order to not attract attention backfires when a quartet of bounty hunters grabs his prisoner with the intent of collecting the award posted on an out-dated
Not satisfied with Clay's investigation of local murder, Simon embarks upon his own. He narrows the suspects to a trio of brothers, each of whom is provided an alibi by a beautiful saloon girl. While Simon is trying to solve Clay's murder case, the young deputy works to arrest a gang of all-too-successful bank robbers that have been eluding Simon.
Clay captures a notorious outlaw who is racked with fever. Doc Landy tries to quarantine the man, along with the other stagecoach passengers the outlaw has come in contact with, but his efforts only start a rumor that Clay's prisoner is afflicted with deadly smallpox.
The sportsmen of Silver City see dollar signs when they convince a Russian duke to raise his horse against Clay's speedy stallion. A crooked gambler fixes the raise by arranging for Clay and his horse to be spend the night before the race searching for a nonexistent mob, exhausting both the lawman and his cayuse. Clay's friends blame him for losing the race, so when he gets word that the Russian is up to his old tricks in Bisbee, Clay rides west in hopes of getting a return match.
Clay arrests Pete McCurdy, the son of prominent cattleman after the young man and his sidekicks shoot up Silver City. After the elder McCurdy bribes the wounded man to drop charges the town's businessman insist that Clay release the cowboys so they can encourage ranchers to drive their herds through town en route to Tucson, but Clay refuses.