Jess leaves Frank Reedy behind and heads to the town of Lockton, Texas, on the hunt for his next man, Lar Clemson. After bringing Clemson into Lockton to collect the bounty, he learns that a young woman, Crissy, has been kidnapped by four outlaws.
Jess decides to track the men and find Crissy. Her freckled and red-haired brother, Red, goes along with him. They quickly find Crissy, but she has been brutalized by the four men. The terrible scene brings back Jess’s memories of his family’s murders, especially the ruthless torture and killing of his little sister, Samantha.
After tempering his rage, Jess goes on the hunt for the four men, who are now all wanted dead or alive. Crissy’s brother is hell-bent on going with him. They start tracking down the men, but they prove to be elusive prey. Jess promised Red’s mother that he would do his best to protect him, but Red gets shot after freezing up during a gunfight with the four outlaws. Worried Red might be a liability, Jess has to decide whether the young man should continue the hunt or be sent home.
Jess left John Booth and the town of California, Texas, behind him as he headed for Bastion, Texas, where he hopes to find the next man he is hunting, Charlie Gibbon. When he rides into Bastion, Gibbon has already killed again and left.
While in Bastion, he finds three Indians have been murdered, and no one knows why. When Jess pays a visit to the man they worked for, he hires Jess to track down the killers. Before he begins the hunt, he is surprised to find Wildcat in the same town.
They team up together and hunt for the killers. The hunt turns deadly after the leader of the three killers murders his two partners and heads out alone. The chase is on. Meanwhile, Charlie Gibbon is still out there, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind him. Jess needs to finish this job and get back to the business of hunting Gibbon. To add to his list of things to do, Jess receives a wire from the United States Marshal Frank Reedy about another bad guy in need of being hunted down and brought to justice, dead or alive.
In this 80th installment of the exploits of bounty hunter Jess Williams, he takes on some of his most evil foes yet. Sid Norton is a tough one. The notorious killer ambushes Jess, wounds him and heads in to finish him off. Just then a young woman living in the woods with her son fires at Norton and he rides away.
The woman is named Mandy and her boy is Davey. Together they get Jess to their tent. Mandy cleans and stitches his wound and they wait for him to come around, hoping they’ve done enough to keep him alive. When Jess wakes up he’s grateful, of course, but also concerned about the two living alone in the woods. Although Mandy has spunk, the pair might not be as lucky the next time evil men arrive. He convinces them to go with him as he follows Norton’s trail to the next town.
They find that Norton has continued his murderous ways, killing off the mayor and new town marshal of Deerfield, leaving the mayor’s wife to manage the general store they owned. Elsie, however, is in a wheelchair. Jess sets up Mandy and Davey to live with her and help run the store.
Jess is anxious to end Norton’s reign of terror before the killer takes the lives of any others, but Norton has already acted. After killing two more people in Temperance, Texas, one the barkeep, Norton holes up in the saloon in a battle to the death. Jess wins that battle and then heads to California, Texas, to turn in the body.
As soon as this task is finished a wagon arrives with a woman doctor clinging to life. She had earlier tended to Jess’s wounds, but after she treated one of the Coker brothers the ungrateful killer shot her and left her for dead.
As Jess heads off to seek vengeance on the Coker brothers, he comes across an old friend, but not under happy circumstances. John Booth has been chasing a bad guy but now he’s lying in the dirt barely alive. They head to the town of Mulberry to get him treatment and go after the Cokers.
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.