Jess is headed to Alger, Texas, hunting for the killer, Jim Fisk. He catches him there, but not before Fisk murders an innocent couple just outside of town.
Meanwhile, the men in the village of Fulton capture the notorious, Ned Malone, who raped and strangled the wife of a Texas supreme court justice, in Calico. They call on John Bodine to come and get him.
Ned Malone is one of Deputy United States Marshal Frank Reedy’s worst nemeses. Reedy is the one who put him in prison and Malone has escaped…yet again. Two deputy marshals from Calico travel to Stratton to pick up Malone for his hanging, but Malone’s men murder them.
Reedy is hell-bent on seeing Malone hang and decides that he and two other federal marshals will escort him to Calico.
As soon as Jess finds out about it, he rides to Stratton, hoping to catch Reedy before he leaves. But Reedy has already left.
When Jess catches up to Reedy, he finds him wounded and the two federal marshals dead. After getting Reedy’s wound taken care of, Jess and Reedy go on the hunt for Malone and his men.
It turns out to be a long and bloody hunt.
Deputy United States Mashal Frank Reedy sends Jess on a special assignment to track down and kill a vicious murderer by the name of Trey Ward.
Jess travels to Andrew, Texas, in search of Ward, but he’s not there. He runs into two of Ward’s friends. They know where he is, but they’re not talking.
Jess is not one to give up easily. Eventually, he tracks down Ward and his two companions after they commit a brutal stagecoach robbery. Then, he’s sent on another assignment from Reedy.
The town of Bender, Texas, has become rife with drifters and violent outlaws. The federal marshal who had been sent there to clean up the town has been murdered. Jess travels to Bender and takes over the law in town until another federal marshal can get there.
As soon as the second federal marshal arrives in Bender, Jess goes on the hunt for the two men who murdered the first federal marshal. After tracking them down, he’s sent back to Bender again because the second federal marshal has been wounded in yet another ambush attack.
When the job is finally finished, the local cemetery has a lot of fresh graves.
Jess is on his way to Shelbyville on the hunt for Scott Carroll when he encounters a raging windstorm. He changes direction to the abandoned town of Worley to seek shelter for himself and his horses.
After getting into the deserted livery in Worley, he discovers he’s actually not alone. A young woman and her son are hiding inside. They have been traveling on foot and have no food left. He finds out that woman and her son have been abused by the boy’s father.
He takes them to the town of Shelbyville, where the town marshal helps her and her son settle there. However, Scott Carroll isn’t in Shelbyville and Jess has to travel to Linden in search of him.
On another hunt, Jess discovers a second bounty hunter is after the same man. A deal is made, but things don’t go as planned, forcing Jess to make things right.
He returns to Shelbyville, only to find the marshal has been wounded and the woman he helped was beaten and robbed. He discovers that the boy’s father and his two cohorts are the ones who did it.
Jess is on the hunt for the next man on his list, Sean Aker. He heads for the town of Lonsdale, Texas, but before he gets there, he ends up meeting a rancher, Olaf Martin, who has hired four top guns.
While visiting the rancher, he finds out that Aker has killed two of Martin’s cowpunchers. Martin tries to pay Jess to go after Aker, but Jess won’t take his money, telling him he’s going after him anyway.
Martin talks Jess into letting his best hired gun, Eddie Pitman, go along with him.
Then Jess is contacted by United States Marshal Frank Reedy. Someone is killing lawmen using a Sharps buffalo rifle, but no one knows who the shooter is.
Jess is tasked with finding out who’s committing these murders of lawmen. Few clues emerge until finally Jess puts two and two together and discovers the killer’s identity.
Strangely enough, a harmonica is the key to solving the murders.
To make matters worse, this is one time Jess finds himself conflicted about killing a killer.
With a conflicted heart, Jess leaves Harrison and Martha Heller to begin his hunt for Herman Conway. The chase takes him to Lake Lillian, Texas, where he meets a young woman by the name of Bonnie, along with her young brother Fred.
When Conway discovers that Jess is in Lake Lillian, he kidnaps Fred as a bargaining chip in case Jess is on his trail. Feeling somewhat responsible, Jess goes after Conway and finds him, but has to let him escape in order to get Fred back alive.
After securing Fred’s release, Jess resumes the hunt for Conway. Along the way though, trouble seems to get in his way at every turn.
Then he meets Sam Smith.