Bob Pickett, accused of murder in Tombstone escapes from the Red Rock jail before Clay Hollister can bring him back for trial. As fate would have it, Pickett saves Clay from an Apache Indian who was about to shoot him. The two men get along famously until Dempsey meets them on the trail and identifies Pickett as the man Clay was meant to arrest.
Clay spots Whit Purcell, arranger of murders, when he rides into Tombstone. He knows that Stu Regan, his hired gun, will soon follow and the two will conspire to draw an innocent man in a gunfight that the victim cannot win. Worse, Clay knows the two have never been convicted of a crime because their quarry has always been goaded into drawing first.
A dispatch case carrying $30,000 in payroll money is stolen from the Army officer serving as its courier. The Army suspects that the aging officer may have stolen the money to finance his retirement, but Clay isn't so sure - especially with three other likely suspects - a down-on-his-luck gambler, a woman living beyond her means and a storekeeper who claims to be crack shot, but can't hit a would-be thief at point blank range.
After a government-enforced truce and amnesty ends a murderous range-war, the hired killers employed by the factions are allowed the run of Tombstone knowing they can't be held accountable for their crimes. When one of the ranchers finds his son murdered just before the truce took affect, he is determined to exact his revenge no matter what the terms of the amnesty dictate.
On a two day stagecoach ride to Laramie, Hollister, two men and a woman stop overnight at a hotel. Next day, one of the men kills the stagecoach driver to stop a warrant being delivered, but realizes his big mistake too late.
When the sheriff of Sunglow is murdered by Harvey Logan and his gang, the town finds itself under siege. Sheriff Hollister and Harris Claibourne ride out to bring the gang to justice and restore law and order.
Nancy Cooley arrives in Tombstone to visit her only surviving relative, her uncle C.J. Cooley of the Jackpot Mine. Sheriff Hollister volunteers to escort Nancy to see her uncle, but on arrival he's nowhere to be found. His partner Burt Foster is less than helpful, raising Clay's suspicions.
David Armbruster, a famous English journalist writing about America's violent West, tries to hire a gunslinger to face Sheriff Clay Hollister in a face-to-face gunfight so he can write an article about a shootout. Finding no takers, he tries to help a condemned criminal escape to accomplish the same thing.
Because of Tombstone's low water supply and inadequate fire fighting equipment, RC Tuttle starts a campaign to encourage residents to move to Benson. A resentful Howard Mansfield sets fire to his own Mercantile store to blame Tuttle.
With a long standing feud between the Caswells and the Harpers, and Jeff Harper arriving in Tombstone after 5 years in jail, Sam Caswell hires a gunfighter Chuck Ashley to deal with him. Harper's pride makes him want to face up to Ashley.
Hollister finds Anita Torison with stolen jewelry, and escorts her on a warrant to Tucson on the stagecoach. An incident at a way station en route raises his suspicions, and he has to find which passenger is her accomplice Boone Cahill.
Ferguson, President Chester Arthur's personal agent, and Elizabeth Blythe, a beautiful reporter, travel to Tombstone to report about the lawlessness that appears to be rampant in the boomtown. Both agent and reporter are captured by the notorious Chandler gang with Elizabeth being held hostage until Hollister releases Joe Chandler from his jail.
An ex-convict recently released from Yuma prison convinces a wheelwright shop owner to give him a chance when the man's assistant was found murdered under mysterious circumstances. He soon proves his worth with his tools and his fists and is given the job of delivering a mine owner's newly repaired buggy, just when the mine payroll is expected.
Local hardcase Jess Buckhorn tries to kill Little Hawk, whom he accuses of stealing the mission's horses. Sheriff Hollister insists that the Apache be held for trial, angering attorney Fred Griffin who leads a lynch mob to the Tombstone jail. While Harris Claibourne holds the mob at bay with his shotgun, Clay and his deputies slip Little Hawk out the back door and into the old Spanish mission. The Indian breaks out of the room where he's held prisoner, forcing Clay to track him into the nearby mountains where other Apache renegades roam.
Jay Pell, an Eastern journalist looking for stories about the Wild West, arranges for a stagecoach hold-up that turns deadly when outlaw Sam Crane guns down the shotgun guard. One killing wasn't enough for the story the reporter is determined to write, so Pell tries to prod Sheriff Hollister and Crane into confronting each other in a deadly gunfight.
Neer-do-well Ron Browning tries to pay for his own obituary in Harris' newspaper before the subject is even dead. When Harris refuses, Browning pulls a gun and attempts suicide but the newspaper editor manages to wrestle the pistol away before the young man can do himself harm. Clay learns that Ron didn't want to face his fiancée who wrote him that she would soon be arriving by stage and locks him in jail for self-protection. When a criminal in the next cell breaks jail, he forces Ron to join him as a hostage.
After an altercation with the Thomas brothers, Paul Hayden (a drifter coming to Tombstone), is given probation to work at the Epitaph under the custody of Claibourne. While courting Karen Thomas, he faces opposition from her brothers.
After Clay Hollister kills Wally Anson in self-defense, Flint Anson offers $10,000 reward for the first person to bring proof of the death of the man who 'murdered' his son. Marshall Jack Bolton assists Hollister to confront the father.
When Tom Beldon is shot and payroll money for the ranch is taken, Hollister makes a plaster caste of the killer's horse's hoof print, which clearly shows a missing nail. Enquiries with blacksmith Todd Gantry enable him to find the killer.
At the hanging of Reed Barker, the rope breaks and he survives. The judge says that since the rope wasn't criminally tampered with, Barker is absolved of all crimes he was charged with. Hollister has to determine how the rope broke.