Widower Lucas McCain can fire a round with his specially modified Winchester in three-tenths of a second. Added to his high moral code and resolve enable him to help Marshal Micah Torrance maintain order in town while raising his son, Mark, on a ranch near North Fork, New Mexico.
Rebecca Snipe is returning to North Fork after a long visit away. Before her stage left, she over hears a man saying he's going to North Fork to kill a big man with a big mouth. Upon Rebecca's arrival in North Fork, Mark is smitten with her and gets it in his head to play matchmaker between her and his pa. Thinking Lucas has intentions on their sister, the Snipe brothers come looking for Lucas to see if he measures up to their standard of being good enough for her.
Reformed card sharp Julia Massini now runs a respectable boarding house in North Fork, but Sid Fallon is threatening to reveal her sordid past unless she lets him turn the establishment into a saloon and gambling hall.
After Mark contracts typhoid fever and has a vision of his dead mother, he no longer seems interested in getting well.
When their wagon breaks down, Mark and an injured Lucas are stranded in the desert.
Rumson, without even saying to whom he had sold his property, left the bill of sale with the bank and moved away from North Fork. Curge, who's highest offer was upped by $1,000.00 is upset because Rumson sold out to a "peppergut". The Argentez family who bought the place are from Argentina. Lucas arranges for Mark to hang out with Manolo, who teaches Mark to use the Bolas. Manolo is angered at anyone who shows interest in his sister, he believes she is only for a "Caballero". Her latest suitor, Ned Dunnell, has been found murdered and the townsfolk are quick to believe it was Manolo.
Micah Torrance, a once famous lawman, is introduced as a drunken derelict, who stumbles into North Fork. Micah, nursing an arm crippled in a gunfight, is hired by Lucas to help out at the ranch. Three outlaws ride into town looking for revenge against Micah. When they kill the sheriff, it's up to Lucas and Micah to protect North Fork. Micah becomes North Fork's full-time Marshal.
Tiffauges, a wealthy and sadistic Frenchman, who is used to getting whatever he wants, decides he wishes to purchase the McCain Ranch. Tiffauges' lead man, Xavier, proclaims Lucas to be muy macho, and does not believe Lucas will give in so easily. Xavier and the other men are tiring of being subjected to Tiffauges' whippings and cruel treatment. Lucas plays on the men's longing for freedom to keep his ranch.
Two hired hands of a wealthy cattleman, who has been using the ranch for grazing his cattle, demand that Lucas move out. When Lucas refuses, he is beaten and dragged and then the ranch house is burned down. They left Lucas and Mark with the burning house and rode off with Lucas' rifle. Leaving Mark to tend to the animals, Lucas tracks them down and confronts their boss, Mr. Jackford.
When Lucas hires an ex-con as a ranch hand, the man is the first one under suspicion when a robbery and murder occur in the area.
When a horse dealer transporting a prize stallion stops in North Fork, two saddle tramps try to use trickery to obtain it.
When a rambunctious teenager wrecks a schoolroom, Lucas McCain, as a member of the North Fork school board, asks the boy's reluctant uncle to pay for the damages.
A sharecropper enters his colt in a horse race, hoping to win enough money to buy his farm from the owner, who has bet on Mark McCain's entry.
To keep his invalid mother happy, an outlaw forces Lucas and Mark to go along with a masquerade that he is the owner of Lucas's ranch.
When a wealthy rancher is killed, Mark suggests that they seek the aid of a mind reader to identify the murderer.
Lucas becomes involved in a battle between an aspiring writer and a cocky, bragging trail boss.
An ex-convict is blamed for a brutal crime despite his claims of rehabilitation.
The McCains try to be tolerant of their embittered neighbor Abel MacDonald, who tels Lucas to keep off his land and won't allow his son to become friends with Mark, but they decide he's gone too far when he won't allow his injured boy to get medical treatment.
When renegade Apaches wound Lucas and kidnap Mark, Marshal Torrance joins with U.S. Marshal Sam Buckhart to form a rescue posse.
Ward Haskins guns down Joe Flecker, who has evidence that could be used to blackmail him. Haskins thinks the information was given to Lucas, since he brought Flecker to the doctor before he died. Stirred up by Haskins behavior, Lucas goes through Flecker's things, finding a wanted poster for Haskins in the sole of Flecker's boot. He also finds Doc Burrage drinking. Doc is discouraged because three children have died of an anthrax epidemic that he has the new serum for, but nobody is willing to allow him to administer it in time. Haskins rides out to the ranch and is bitten by Flecker's horse, which is now believed to have anthrax. Mark overhears about how anthrax always causes death and is worried because he had bitten by Flecker's horse, also.
Floyd Doniger comes to North Fork, looking to start a new life. He's got a steady job as the guard at the new bank and he's entertaining ideas of settling down on a spread of his own. Also arriving in North Fork are three men who followed the bank's new safe, figuring any town needing a safe like that must have money to put into it. At the grand opening celebration of the bank, the three men discover the new bank guard is their old pal, Floyd. The three men try to convince Floyd to join them in robbing the bank, after all with a man working inside it should be easy.
Lucas puts his life in jeopardy when he agrees to testify in a murder case where the first witness was killed before he could testify, and the killer is still at large.
Young Mark manages to capture a hawk, but then falls into danger from a rattlesnake. When a stranger comes to his rescue, the grateful Mark invites the man home, unaware that he is on the run from the law.
After a young stablehand kills a notorious gunslinger, he is baffled by the hostility of the townspeople about giving him the reward.
Shotgun man John Beaumont, who Lucas sent to prison, returns with vengeance on his mind.
Lucas helps his former Army captain, now an undercover federal agent, infiltrate a gang of bank robbers.
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