Slim leaves for Denver on business leaving Jess with the hired hand Ben. When Vern Clark arrives at Sherman Ranch and Relay station with his new wife, he finds that he's now the new marshal in Laramie since the Torrey brothers have just killed Marshal Blanton. Clark and Jess Harper mix about as well as oil and water and Jess refuses to be deputized by Clark until a neighbor is killed by the Torrey brothers. Jess rides into town to join the posse being formed by Clark. The posse finds themselves out-gunned by the Torrey gang and Clark breaks and runs after being grazed by a bullet. Believing himself a coward, Clark refuses to perform his duties, leaving Jess to try and organize the citizens of Laramie to defend themselves against the gang. Jess is banking on Clark realizing that he is not a coward and that he has a job to do no matter how scared he is.