Paladin is assaulted in his room at the Hotel Carlton. In a furious fight, he beats down his attacker, Roderick Jefferson. The young man, it turns out, had gambling debts he couldn't repay; the holder of his gambling IOUs wanted Jefferson to kill Paladin. This spurs Paladin to tell Jefferson of a similar occurrence -- involving himself 10 years earlier. As that story unfolds, we learn that Paladin (whose real name we're never told) owed $15,000 to Norge. Paladin's only way out was to go to a valley, entirely owned by Norge, to challenge the mysterious Smoke to a duel....
A hen-pecked rancher, in San Francisco to marry his housekeeper, hires Paladin to help him get out doing so. For $1.000 he wants him to help break up the holy bonds of matrimony - before they can be forged. What he attempts to do is not quite what either of them had bargained for.
After eight years, Paladin tries to repay a convict for the lie he was told when he arrested him. "I promise you a fair trial" is what he said. The old man who turned that into a lie still wants him dead even from the grave. So he sends five to avenge him - or was it only four?
A newspaper article and some money, sent to Paladin, tells of a Sheriff who is retiring. His reputation with a gun brings out those with a grudge or wanting to just make a name for themselves. Now he must find whoever sent it to him so he can help that sheriff before it is too late.
Paladin rides upon a man named Stryker hanging from a tree. When he learns Paladin is after the same man but with a warrant, he says he has stronger reasons and hopes he won't get in his way. Later Paladin helps the man, now wounded and in his custody, get to what he remembers as a friendly place called Sky Blue.
Repaying a debt, Paladin rides to Valley Heart. Sheriff Reagan awaits the return of a native son who has been jailed for the past six years. The sheriff's wife was once this native son's girlfriend, and he has vowed to see Reagan dead for taking her from him.
Paladin is after a man suspected of killing a marshal. After finally capturing him in the desert he claims his innocence. But he finds he may have to enlist his aid as they are without a horse, almost out of water and a group of bandit marauders are nearby.
Hogtooth gets more ridicule than usual, when 3 gunmen take over the town, after cleaning it up. Each was hired in secret by a town council member, so the enforcers band together to suck Hogtooth dry. Hey Boy spots an article about the dilemma, and tells Mr. Paladin he's needed.
Paladin's old army scout buddy is now the town marshal with his own rules. He has become an overbearing tyrant. The new lady saloon owner challenges his authority and Paladin notices the marshal's one weakness- women.
A doctor who once saved Paladin's life calls upon him to find and safely bring back the son of a one-time sweetheart.The young man has "taken to the hills" to track down his father's killer.Paladin locates the headstrong youth and his prey but finds the return trip will not be easy-the wanted man has four trailing confederates.
Paladin meets a drunken Col Lacey at the Carlton. He is there fearful of going home to his lovely wife after being away for some time seeking his fortune. Will she be as loving and faithful as he has been? Paladin decides to help him find out, regardless of the consequences.
Adams, the prosecutor, wants to hire Paladin to rid the town of someone he says is getting away with murder. When this person is tried for a killing Paladin witnesses, he offers his services as defense when no one else wants the job.
Paladin rides into a Texas town at Christmas time and encounters a saloon full of merrymakers. Soon afterward a cowboy brings in a pregnant girl who may not survive the impending birth. The town doctor is down for his annual drunken stupor. Paladin tries to enlist help but the the patrons would rather party.
Jess Harden, about to be released from prison for an $80K robbery he says he didn't commit, returns to the same town not knowing that it's a ghost town. He plans to meet his wife there. She wants Paladin there as well to ward off anyone who believes he does have the money after all.
Abe and Jim Redrock are both well educated. The only problem they always run into is they are also Indians. Abe stays true to his heritage, causing trouble for the elected sheriff of Latigo, his brother Jim.
Mrs Quincy longs to see her granddaughter who has been away since she was six. When her daughter and husband died in the mine fields, she was taken in. Now betrothed to be married, Paladin is hired to ensure she is this long lost relative.
Fleeing banditos, Paladin seeks shelter from a peasant and his beautiful, scheming wife, their marriage at the breaking point. After being driven from their rural home, the husband hopes to appease his high-maintenance wife by returning to a city. However she eyes the urbane Paladin as the means to her own ends.
Paladin is joined by his friend Ernie Backwater, an aging sheriff who is out to capture Will Tybee, a wanted fugitive who has spent his life searching for the man who murdered his son. Unfortunately, he's killed five innocent men while doing so, and is more than willing to kill Paladin and the sheriff if they get in his way.
Paladin is escorting a unique prisoner to a trial and certain conviction. A man who has been married seven times and murdered all of them. Stopping for a night of rest, Paladin finds the man is wanted by the townsfolk as a "sacrifice" to appease the local Indians. A spinsterish young girl has other plans for the "charmer".
Paladin is asked by the wife of a man who is condemned to die to visit him in prison and see if new evidence can be found to clear her husband. Not sure if he wants the job, Paladin agrees to the visit and it leads to quite an unexpected result. Paladin literally finds he now walks in another man's footsteps.
Paladin is hired to escort a Rani and her party across 150 miles of desert to a safe haven.The Rani is from a country fighting a civil war and she is to be the new leader if her side is victorious.On the journey it is noticed that they are being followed and treachery from within may be the cause of more worry.
Carl Soddenberg committed a heinous, murderous act. When a doctor feels he should be freed because he was mentally imbalanced at the time and now is cured, Paladin is hired to get him to an asylum and keep the family's survivors at bay who are out for revenge.
An art collector hires Paladin to guide him, and his strangely childlike daughter, to the camp of a reclusive sculptor. But the collector does not tell Paladin his real reason for wanting to find the artist.
Paladin agrees to help a Chinese woman flee back to her homeland, rather than take part in an arranged marriage. They are awaiting a ship that will arrive at an isolated spot outside of San Francisco. Paladin and the woman fall in love, complicating whether she will go back to China or not. At the same time, Paladin must protect her from assassins determined she not make it back to China.
Paladin is on his way to a very important appointment outside Los Angeles. He encounters and saves an Indian girl being run down by two men. Since then, he can't shake her because she says she is in his debt, until the two men return.
Paladin gets a letter from his past requesting him to come to Rancho San Tarquie. When he arrives he is not permitted to see the sender of the letter but the invitation may not have come from who he thought.
A bank hires Paladin to collect $10,000 from a rancher. When the rancher is found murdered, and the money missing, the rancher's associates accuse a band of gypsies of being responsible. Paladin rides into the gypsies' camp to find out the truth.