Jess finds himself in a gun battle with the crafty outlaw, Lewis Crocker, in Hempstead, Texas. Crocker has already shot the town marshal and escapes Jess’s grip. Jess eventually tracks Crocker to the town of Furman, but again, Crocker slips through his fingers. Worse, the outlaw uses dynamite to try to kill his pursuer. Jess sees the ambush in time to save himself, but his two horses are slightly wounded.
While in Furman, a ranch hand working for a cattle baron finds Jess and offers him money to just talk with his boss, Adam Thatcher. Jess, knowing his horses won’t be able to ride hard for a few days anyway while they are tended to, agrees to the meeting.
Thatcher had originally wanted to hire Jess to transport his daughter, Ruby, to Topeka, Kansas, but when Jess arrives, Ruby has run off with one of the ranch hands. Jess agrees to borrow a horse from Thatcher and find out where his daughter is, but things get complicated. The man Ruby is in love with is a kind-hearted fellow and Jess doesn’t want to hurt him. Separating the two seems impossible.
Jess begins the task of escorting Ruby to Topeka. Along the way, trouble pops up, again and again, making Jess’s job more dangerous. Meanwhile the elusive and crafty killer, Lewis Crocker, gets farther and farther from his grasp; however, as always, Jess is not one to give up easily.
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 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.
Before Jess leaves Stratton, Texas, U.S. Marshal Frank Reedy gives him an unwanted assignment. The job forces Jess to go north to the town of Loveland, Nebraska, to hunt two vicious killers, Bernie Crangle and Rueben Gideon.
Jess doesn’t want to go because it’s the time of year when it can get cold in Nebraska. Worse, the only way to get there fast enough in the hopes of getting back to southern Texas, and a warmer climate, is to get on another train. He reluctantly agrees because he owes Reedy a favor.
He makes his way on the hunt for the two vicious outlaws and seems to find trouble around every corner. The train he’s on is carrying a huge gold shipment, guarded by an old friend, Vic Pardo. There are rumors of a robbery attempt and trouble soon follows.
He finally gets to Loveland, and starts his search for the two killers there, but they are leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. He needs to find them before the list gets longer, but he’s hampered by another bounty hunter and a woman who seems to have an interest in the two outlaws.
After the job is finished, he heads south again, but the snow flies and the cold comes. By the time he arrives back in Stratton, another ally surprisingly shows up and Jess is not sure it’s a good sign or bad. One thing is for sure. He’ll soon find out.
Jess’s next hunt takes him to the town of Canton, Texas. He ends up in a running shootout with his prey, Hank Dupree, and sends him straight to the devil. But during the shootout, the marshal is wounded by Dupree and now can’t perform his duties.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the deputy ends up wounded before Jess gets to leave town, leaving Canton completely unprotected from the drifters and troublemakers who seem to continue to plague the town.
Jess is asked to stay until the marshal or the deputy can resume their duties. He agrees, but has no idea of how much trouble is coming his way. It seems that every drifter and troublemaker in Texas shows up in town. Guns blaze and bodies start filling up the local cemetery.
Before he leaves the town of Canton, he has three new men to hunt, but this time it’s personal.