A newspaper reporter determined to write articles about famous gunslingers finds that real gunmen are in short supply, so he decides to invent one. He buys a young man who hero-worships Clay Allison a holster and a frock coat and creates a reputation for him as a formidable gunslinger by publishing embellished accounts of exploits.
A range war breaks out between the cattle ranchers and the sheepherders in 19th Century Wyoming. The sons of the faction leaders meet and become friends, leading to tragedy when a hired killer of one faction kills one of the boys by mistake.
Thorpe Henderson is an assassin, a Regulator, hired by the cattlemen to deal with their rustler problem. Thorpe prefers to hide in the brush and kill from 200 yards away but, when bored, isn't afraid to face a man down with pistols at close range. It is 1902 and civilization has made it's way west. The good citizens decide that the time has come to end the lawlessness even if their methods prove to be as amoral as the evil they profess to hate.
An outlaw gang, no longer needing the bank clerk they took as a hostage, decide to eliminate the unfortunate man. Before they can kill him, the rest of the outlaws they double-crossed catches up and surrounds them. With no hope of escape unless they can shoot their tormentors, the clerk offers to throw in with the men who threatened to kill him hours earlier.