Jim Horn and his mentor Ben Stratton, two saddle tramps, meet Holly when Ben rescues her from a runaway team of horses in Medicine Bow. She suggests they work at Shiloh where they impress The Virginian with their work ethic and horse wrangling. Although they take the job as temporary hands, they are asked to stay permanently but Ben is unable to settle down. However, he realizes young Jim Horn needs the security and stability Shiloh provides.
Carl Kabe and his two sons Tom and George quit a horse drive led by The Virginian. The Virginian receives a head injury which blinds him when his horses stumbles while alone. He wanders blind into a cabin where the seventeen year old Ginny Kabe is waiting for the return of her father and brothers. She tends to The Virginian but when the men return The Virginian recognizes who they are and that they stole Shiloh horses. Ginny implores them to take The Virginian to Spanish Wells for help.
Trampas is in Arizona when he encounters a group of men in a fight with an Indian hunting party ending with one of the men. For safety Trampas rides with the men only one of whom is armed. He learns the group is the first Arizona prisoners released on probation who are to convert a ranch bought by the prison system into a training facility for prisoners on probation. The convict killed in the fight was supposed to be the foreman of the ranch and train the men. The man in charge tricks the local marshal into thinking Trampas is the convict who was killed as he needs an...
Clay Grainger is introduced to the power plays involved in politics when he is drafted to run for the territorial legislature when the current Representative resigns. When he learns he was deceived when asked to run, he moves to win the campaign with honesty. However, the other side turns to dirty tricks.
Obie and Anna Moore a teenage couple expecting a baby have rented a farm near Medicine Bow. When Obie is accused of theft by Nathan Rigby in a different town, Obie leaves and Jim Horn finds himself taking over for Obie including delivering the baby by himself. Jim takes it on himself to help Anna with the farm while working at Shiloh but he drops from exhaustion while also falling for Anna. Jim has to decide whether to stay with Anna or return to Shiloh.
Young Hoot Callahan escapes a home for wayward boys in Colorado and heads for Wyoming looking for his father. He is discovered at Shiloh but refuses to cooperate with the Graingers. When they learn he has been severely beaten and he provides some history, they try to track down his home. The owner of the home he escaped from tracks Hoot to Shiloh and tries to force the Graingers to return him. Meanwhile The Virginian tracks down his father who is the town drunk and saloon swamper in Medicine Bow.
Reporter/artist, Julie Oakes, from Boston arrives in Medicine Bow with an introduction for Clay Grainger to do a story on the west. There is an immediate attraction between her and The Virginian but she continues to spend time with businessman Ord Glover who is also from Boston much to the dislike of The Virginian. Her continued flashbacks to Boston and her husband's death result in tragic events which neither the Graingers or The Virginian understand.
Trampas leaves on vacation but his plans go astray when he is picked up by a bounty hunter for murdering a popular doctor. He has to contend with a hostile town, planted evidence, and a saloon girl who swears she saw him commit the murder.
Toby Hamilton deserts from the army due to what he considers unfair treatment by the commanding officer who happens to be his father. He is found injured on Shiloh and the Graingers take him in to recover. He is a well-trained bugler and attracts Elizabeth's attention because she is trying to learn to play a coronet she found. Clay tries to determine the truth as Toby's father is an old friend from Texas who he trusts when he learns Toby is a deserter.
Seth James is a lawman on the trail of a gang who robbed and killed in his town. He has a habit of taking no prisoners and when their trail goes near Shiloh he stops there to see his old friend, The Virginian. He tells the Shiloh people he is retiring and on a hunting trip and asks The Virginian to go with him for old times sake. After being on the trail for a while, The Virginian realizes the quarry is human and what Seth has become when they catch up with one of the outlaws.
Peg Halstead returns from finishing school back east after five years to her dad's ranch at Medicine Bow for a two week vacation. She had a young girl crush on Trampas who teased her when she was younger. When they meet again, the relationship blossoms into more than a crush on both sides. However, her dad, John Halstead, wants her to return east and stay away from the west as he feels the west killed her mother. Peg is determined to stay home and marry Trampas but learns life in the west is more complicated and remote than she remembers.
When The Virginian is called back on other business, Jim Horn is sent on to handle the purchase and shipment of horses near the Canadian border back to Shiloh. Jim is frustrated when the people he must deal with do not accord him respect due to his young age and looks. Karen and her partner Orrey spot Jim as a mark and take him for the Shiloh money he is carrying forcing Jim to handle the issue and prove his worthiness as a Shiloh hand.
Mrs. Cloud's Shoshone husband passes away and as a white woman by law she is forced to leave their reservation. Her son Wolf and her are found near Shiloh by The Virginain and Jim Horn with her suffering from the same disease that killed her husband. They take her to Shiloh where she recovers. She discovers that her first husband is a successful store owner in Medicine Bow living with their daughter Laurie who has become engaged. Mrs. Cloud was told Laurie was dead by the Shoshones. When she confronts her husband, he asks her to not reveal the truth to Laurie about ...
The Virginian takes a watch in trade for a whole beef while on a cattle drive from a black man, Cobey Jade, claiming to own a nearby town. Trampas recognizes the watch as belonging to an old friend and tracks the down Cobey who traded the watch to The Virginian. He finds himself and Cobey prisoners of an outlaw group led by an ex-Southner who takes his anger out on Cobey when they don't find the gold expected in the town.
Sheriff Abbott sends Trampas to Clearwater as a deputy to return Luther Watson wanted for stealing horses. The two of them are on the stage with Mary Marshall who is a very talkative southern belle. After the stage is robbed, she forces Trampas and Luther at gunpoint to trail the thieves one of whom is the stagecoach driver. During the search for the thieves, Mary matures and Luther's knowledge of horses plays a key role in recovering Mary's dowry.
Stephanie White marries John who owns a successful freight and stagecoach business in Medicine Bow. However, Stephanie is beset with a crippling injury to her new husband followed by his death in a fire. Frank is John's key employee who keeps the company running but he also knew Stephanie in the past. John's brother, Billy, works for John but is more interesting in gambling so John leaves his entire business to Stephanie. Stephanie is framed for killing Frank with only The Virginian to help her prove her innocence.
An eastern combine attempts to take over control of the Wyoming cattle ranches but Clay Grainger is the main push to keep them out. Cattle prices are declining and The Virginian gets a contract for an acceptable price if they make Cheyenne by a deadline. To prevent their success, someone stampedes the cattle and burns the Shiloh ranch house. When the drive is late, Shiloh is faced with being sold and the hands are all laid off due to lack of financing. A similar fate awaits the other ranches in the area.
Clay Grainger, Elizabeth, and Jim Horn are on a train back to Medicine Bow from Cheyenne at night.There are few other passengers on the train but one is Jed Haines and his new bride as of that day. While the personalities of the various passengers are exposed, they learn that one passenger and his family which is chasing the train want to hang Jed Haines aka Judge Harker, a gun for hire, for killing a family member. People's scruples are fully exposed as they decide on the train how to handle the problem.
The Graingers are taken hostage by the three Thurman siblings who believe Clay may have been involved with Judge Will McMasters in stealing their parents homestead for a railroad spur and eventually the death of their parents. There is a clash as well between the two hotheaded brothers and their sister on how to handle the Graingers.
The Virginaian taking a herd of cattle to the army signs on the hand John Woods while on the trail. Woods and Jim Horn become good friends and Jim learns that John is an escaped Kiowa Indian on the way to Canada. When the army sutler Ned Cochran recognizes him as an Indian wanted by the army for the murder of four soldiers, he captures Woods. Jim helps John escape when he sees him being mistreated. However, Cochran is found dead after the escape. When John Woods is not found the sheriff jails Jim Horn and the town decides to lynch him in place of John Woods the next ...
Clay Grainger is kidnapped for a $20,000 ransom and a threat of burning Medicine Bow by a gang of three from San Francisco. The gang leader's girl friend Mag tries to leave them and help Holly Grainger but the leader of the gang, Connor, wants her back. Although Jum Horn and The Virginian try to find Clay, Holly is forced to follow the gang's instructions and pay the ransom.
The Virginian is rescued by Adam Randall from being killed and having the Shiloh cattle money stolen. He and Clay Grainger offer Adam a job at Shiloh which he accepts. However, Clay is concerned about Adam who is an obvious gunman and has the other ranch hands scared to work with him. Over time Clay realizes Adam is the son of a man he killed on a cattle drive years ago and he is the target of Adam's gun.
Harve Yost is an always 'down on his luck' farmer along with his son and daughter living on a homestead that The Virginian helped him buy from Clay Clainger after he rescued The Virginian during a winter in Nebraska. When Harve comes into a $10,000 reward for the recovery of stolen money and the capture of an outlaw, he takes The Virginian's advice and buys a ranch as an investment. However, Harve has no money management ability and soon finds himself going against The Virginian over land rights.
Cart Banner and Billy Neal rob the railroad station killing the clerk. Cart flees the scene while Billy hangs onto the money but is also fatally shot. Before Billy dies, he makes it to Sally Anne's room. She is a popular singer at the saloon and an old flame of Trampas. When the authorities learn Billy died in her room, the railroad investigator believes she is involved and has the money which has not been found. Cart returns to Medicine Bow looking for the money and concludes she has it as well. In the meantime Jim Horn develops a strong relationship with Sally while...