After leaving Jackson, Texas, Jess and Bodine head to Stratton, Texas, where Jess has agreed to take some time off and fish in the lake he and Henry Stratton built. Along the way, they stop off at the town of Berkshire.
They quickly learn that the town’s officials, including the marshal, have turned the town into a haven for outlaws, charging them a daily fee to stay there without being bothered. At first, it seems to be harmless, as none of the outlaws bothers or harms the local townsfolk and the businesses in town charges the outlaws double for whatever they buy or consume.
That quickly changes when a cold-blooded killer by the name of Jake Rickman rides into town and stays at the hotel. Bodine is awaiting a wire back from United States Marshal Frank Reedy, asking if they should interfere with the town’s operation. The answer from Frank Reedy is what Bodine expected: Pin their federal badges on and clean up the town.
Jess kills a hired gun working for a cattle baron who has a huge ranch outside of Berkshire. The rancher tries to bribe Jess and Bodine with money, but when that doesn’t work, he tries to run them off with hired killers. Jess finds himself ducking bullets and facing the best gunslingers the cattle baron can buy…and he has no shortage of money.
Just when they think things can’t get any worse, Frank Reedy is wounded by two outlaws passing through Stratton, Texas. Jess and Bodine want to leave Berkshire and hunt down the two attackers, but they still have to deal with the cattle baron until their replacements arrive.
Jess is on the hunt for his next prey, Max Thunder, which leads him to an almost deserted town called Appleton. He puts Thunder down and heads to the town of Pinkney, directly into another fight with the rest of the Thunder family. Bullets fly and two more men in the Thunder family die.
While in Pinkney, he has an encounter with a woman by the name of Martha Heller. She doesn’t think much of what he does for a living. Three men attempted to rob the stagecoach she was riding in, but she shot two of them, wounding one of them seriously.
Jess joins the posse on the hunt for the three men. They bring in three dead bodies but the stagecoach driver refuses to take Martha on the last leg of her journey to the town of Harrison, Texas, where she is supposed to take over as the teacher.
Against Jess’s warnings, she travels alone to Harrison, but is almost raped and killed by one of the men Jess is hunting. He saves her life and escorts her to Harrison, where the schoolhouse has burned down. Jess begins to have feelings for Martha, but she is not happy with his life of bounty hunting. He leaves her in Harrison, but he feels as if he is leaving a part of himself there. He continues on the hunt for more bad men, but the memory of Martha Heller will haunt him for many years to come.
When he continues on his hunt for more bad men, Shadow suddenly shows up. Then, he receives a special assignment from United States Marshal Frank Reedy. Two outlaws have hanged a Texas Ranger in Verde, Texas, and Reedy wants Jess to track them down. Before he begins his hunt for the two outlaws, his good friend John Bodine joins him and the hunt for the two murderers begins.
The only problem is, the closer they get to the killers, the more dead bodies they find.
Jess is on the hunt for Cliff Radish, and after he puts him down, he ends up taking the body to the town of Duston, Texas. The town marshal there happens to be Cliff’s older brother, Ernie. While there, two men gun down the marshal and he’s unable to perform his duties.
Ernie Radish calls on Jess to protect the town until he can get out of bed and to make matters worse, a huge cattle drive will arrive in a few days. Jess finds himself dealing with hired guns, whores, drunken cowpunchers and drifters coming to town. He pins his United States Marshal’s badge on and takes over the law in Duston.
The cattle drive leaves and the working girls try to hire Jess to escort them safely to Oklahoma City, but instead, he recommends they hire Rick Muller, a gambler and gunslinger from California, who happens to be hanging around Duston. Before Jess leaves town, he realizes that three outlaws are trailing the wagon of women.
He quickly finds himself helping Muller transport the women, but trouble seems to show up at every turn. He has to deal with ambushers, gunslingers, and men with a grudge against him.
Jess is back to bounty hunting in Texas, heading for a town called Huntersville where the next man on his hunt list is purportedly staying around. Before he gets there, he finds four men firing rifles at a young man hiding behind some trees, because they believe him to be a rustler.
Jess stops the men and rescues young Andy and convinces the rancher that he’s innocent. Now, he has Andy following him around since he has no other family left, because the rancher already hung his two brothers.
Before Jess leaves Huntersville, a triple murder is committed in the saloon and witnessed by a working girl named Molly.
The hunt pursues, but Jess still has Andy to contend with. After Andy finds a fancy pearl handled Colt in an embossed black leather holster, he puts it on, but has no experience in using it.
Jess continues on the hunt for the four killers, but he still has young Andy under his wing. Andy insists that Jess teaches him the way of the gun, but Jess worries it’ll send the boy on a path of no return or a path straight to hell.
Jess is on the hunt for the vicious Van McLarty and once he puts him down, he takes the body into the town of Palmdale, Texas, where he runs into a very disagreeable county sheriff and the Corker clan. It seems the Corker men think they run things around their area, including the county sheriff.
After his run-in with three of the Corker men, the leader of the group, Hagar Corker, declares war on Jess and the town of Palmdale. The county sheriff rides out of Palmdale and leaves Jess to handle the clan by himself. Lead flies and blood is spilt before a truce can be agreed upon.
After leaving Palmdale, Jess finds himself being held against his will on a moving train owned by a wealthy man by the name of John Roscoe. He offers $100,000.00 to the gunslinger who can take Jess in a duel. The train snakes its way through Texas, New Mexico Territory, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio, where Jess faces some of the deadliest gunfighters no one ever knew existed. His last challenge is with Roscoe, but Roscoe doesn’t play fair.
After teaching Roscoe a lesson, Jess heads to Stratton, Texas for a quick visit, but Reedy has a deadly job waiting for him. One that requires his special set of skills. He has to hunt down a former Texas Ranger who is hiding in a huge forest, and he’s an expert with a sniper rifle. To make matters worse, the Ranger has gone completely mad. Jess goes in, but will he come out?