While in Highridge visiting a friend,Audra witnesses three murders and goes into shock.Victoria brings her back to Stockton via stagecoach and the trip home is a test of wills between the passengers and a mysterious stranger who follows the coach.
A shy dressmaker interests lawmen and outlaws alike when a journalist theorizes that she is an infamous bandit. Nick, who as a joke had started the rumor,finds himself defending her reputation-despite not knowing just what the truth is.
While returning to the ranch with a horse he just purchased,Heath becomes side tracked and ends up taking home a baby after the mother dies.The father,an outlaw,eventually heads for the Barkley's to take custody-and into a bounty hunter's trap.
Passing through the town of Abbottsville on their way to a wedding,Victoria and Audra stop to see Victoria's brother-in-law.They are not allowed to see him and are told he is judged insane and sees no visitors-a suspicious Victoria investigates.
The once friendly annual rodeo between the Barkley and Morton ranches has become a nasty, win-at-all-costs event. An ex-slave, "super cowboy", raises the stakes when he agrees to compete for the Barkley's.
25 men have died in a cave-in at the Dutton Mine,in which the Barkley's have a 40% interest.Heath,on his way to meet Nick and investigate the disaster,is badly wounded-and mistaken by the vengeful townspeople as an avenging mine payroll robber.
Despite being college educated,a Modoc Indian is given to angry outbursts as he imagines prejudice from any action of white people.With the whole town against the tribesman,Jarrod acts as his lawyer when he is accused of murdering a white man who had heckled him.
Jarrod is guardian to a rebellious teenage girl who becomes interested in a Prince visiting from India. The "Prince" has a heavy handed aide who arouses the suspicions of Heath when a local woman he knew is found murdered.
Stern, religious people lease a Barkley farm. When townspeople discover the newcomers are Mormons who practice plural marriage, they plan to drive them out. Jarrod hides the truth as he attempts to mediate the situation.
While returning to Stockton,Victoria and Jarrod stop in a town with outrageous prices for food,lodging and services. After finding out the people are bilking travelers to survive,the Barkley's decide to open a shipping business to save the town-despite opposition from a territorial "boss" with a rival freight company in the area.
Nick and Heath, on the trail of a gang of murderous raiders stealing horses in the Valley, enlist the help of the ex-sheriff of Stockton. The motivation behind his "help" proves interesting and totally unexpected-especially to the Barkley's.
Heath arrives in a dying desert town, only to find himself a visitor in a madhouse. His hosts are five deranged people who play bizarre and deadly games with their infrequent guests. Heath's role in their hellish fantasy: the accused--on trial for rape and murder.
An Englishman with a large gambling debt agrees to smuggle whiskey onto an Indian reservation to pay off his losses.Enroute he meets up with Victoria,on the way to the reservation with medical supplies,and they find the road there is full of unexpected surprises.
An old love of Heath's, who had jilted him five years before, convinces him to help get her Mexican husband to the U.S.. The husband is a Revolutionary wanted by the Federale's-and a man with questionable motives.
A dying prisoner asks his son to kill the two people whose testimony caused his death, a Stockton banker named Clark and Victoria Barkley. After Clark is murdered, Jarrod, unaware that Victoria is the next target, agrees to act as the son's lawyer when he is put on trial for murder.