Upon arriving for a business appointment with a friend, MacKenzie learns that the man was killed by the brother of Nan Allen, a young woman he was in the act of assaulting. He finds this hard to believe, but upon getting to know Nan, he takes a strong liking to her. When her brother Bobby is injured from an avalanche, MacKenzie brings both him and Nan to Shiloh while he recuperates. As he and Nan begin to fall in love, MacKenzie starts to wonder why more than one man in her past has died violently, and if Bobby's strangely possessive attitude has something to do with ...
When he is appointed to the Senate Foster Bonham decides to sell his ranch to Shiloh. The Virginian arrives at the Bonham ranch to finalize the sale, but Foster's drunken, irresponsible brother Jack is determined to stop the sale any way he can. When a murder is committed the Virginian searches for Jack, and Foster must decide between his brother and his Senate seat.
Tate comes across a deaf and mute Indian boy, who is being hunted by a posse for the killing of a respected rancher. To prevent his being lynched, Tate brings the boy into town himself, and hopes to somehow learn his side of the story. But just about everyone in the town, including the judge, is too anxious to hang the boy quickly, so Tate finds he has to take on the role of defense counsel himself.
Stopping in nearly abandoned Spencer Flats, Trampas is held by sisters Della and Annie Spencer, who accuse him of being outlaw Deke Slaughter, though their handyman is not so convinced. Then the real Slaughter rides into the town, claiming to be a sheriff.
The Virginian arrives at Laura Duff's ranch to buy her Angus cattle, only to find that she has lost her head steer due to someone cutting her fence. While she suspects a hostile rancher who wants her land, her son insists that a friendly neighbor is responsible, not only for the cattle but also for the death of his father several months earlier.
Colonel MacKenzie finds a woman unconscious on a remote mountain trail on the way to visit his hermit friend Muley. He takes her to Muley's cabin and they wait for her to recover as no help is available. She wakes up but is slow to communicate and recover her memory. At the same time another visitor arrives with a lame horse asking to stay until his horse can travel again. As the woman recovers she is attracted to the Colonel in a romantic manner, thinking he is someone she knows, but remembers no details.
Tate is hired by his friend Joe Benson to work on his ranch and watch over his teenage son and daughter while he's away on business. This puts Tate squarely in the middle of a dispute with a big rancher over a fence Benson wants to build, as well as with a woman who arrives claiming to be Benson's fiancée, the children's rebelliousness, and a hired gun who comes to town with a wanted poster on Tate.
When an Army troop arrives looking for a group of marauding Indians who have gone on the warpath, both Colonel MacKenzie and Parker recognize one of the sergeants as a lancer from the British Army whom they believed to have been killed in India ten years ago - and who was supposed to have been leading MacKenzie's brother when he was captured and killed. The man deserts when he recognizes Parker, and MacKenzie goes out after him, with the Indians following behind.
On the way to a cattle purchase, The Virginian meets up with Ben Hunter and his group when they interrupt a holdup attempt on him. He finds that Hunter is leading a protection racket that now covers a number of towns on the way between Medicine Bow and Billings, and that the people in these towns are cowed into paying him outrageous fees to keep their homes and businesses safe. When The Virginian is forced to kill one of Hunter's men the citizens of one town are ordered to turn him over to be killed, and except for the daughter of one man are too willing to do so.
After being mauled by a cunning wolf he has been tracking, and then robbed of his horse, gun, and other possessions by a stranger on the road, Col. MacKenzie is taken in by a homesteader and her young son. The wolf, however, is still at large and MacKenzie is determined to hunt him down.
After stopping in the town of Jump-Up to see an old girlfriend, Tate is cheated in a card game by a gambler, and then framed by town boss John Timothy Driscoll and his son for killing the man, and forced into a hard labor camp.