After he's deputized to help a marshal collect a bounty, Cheyenne has second thoughts when he learns of the man's methods and reputation.

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Cheyenne is riding along a trail when he's nearly ambushed by two armed gunmen. Another man comes to his aid and kills the men before they can fire. The man reveals that he's a U.S. marshal named Frank Moxon. The dead men were on the lookout to kill him and mistakenly tried to kill Bodie instead. Cheyenne is thankful for the save and the two men ride the trail together to the next town, South Fork. On the way, a rattlesnake threatens Moxon and Cheyenne shoots it in the head. The marshal is impressed and asks Bodie to join him in capturing his next bounty. Cheyenne agrees and Moxon deputizes him.


Moxon and Cheyenne look around the town of South Fork.

When the men ride into town, they receive anxious and angry looks from the townspeople. Sheriff Barnes is also not excited to see Moxon. When he finds out the marshal's next bounty is a man named John Sevier, Barnes turns outright hostile. Sevier is a respected member of the town who has told many people about the mistake from his past. He did kill a man, but it was in self defense. Recognizing Moxon, Sevier holds up in his cabinet making shop as several of the townspeople gather outside to support him. Barnes goes to talk to him while Bodie and Moxon check into the hotel.

In the bar, Cheyenne protests some rude treatment from the bartender when an old friend and former lawman appears, Paul Caldwell. Cheyenne is glad to see his friend, but he is rattled when the man describes Moxon as nothing more than a killer.


Sevier stops the lynching.

After a protracted discussion with Barnes, Sevier finally decides to give himself up. The townspeople agree to let him go only if three men can accompany him on the trip back to Kansas. Moxon does not like this idea at all, and likes it less when Caldwell also volunteers to make the trip. The marshal belittles Caldwell by mentioning the loss of his badge, his drinking problem and insults his wife and children. Pushed beyond what he can bear, Caldwell draws but Moxon shoots him dead. The marshal declares to the stunned crowd that Sevier is his prisoner and he will take him back to Kansas alone.

That evening at the jail, Barnes brings $500 raised by the townspeople, which is twice the bounty on Sevier’s head. Moxon refuses to be paid off. After the others leave, Sevier confesses to Cheyenne about the shooting he committed in self-defense. Cheyenne encourages Sevier to return to Kansas to clear his name. He promises to make sure that Sevier survives the trip and gets a fair trial.


Cheyenne takes a hostage to escape from the mob.

Since the marshal has refused them at every turn, Barnes and the townspeople decide on their last, ruthless option. They take Moxon and Bodie prisoner with the intention of lynching them in the street. Sevier interrupts this scene. He’s decided to go to Kansas with Bodie, but first he’s going to stop Moxon by putting a bullet in him. Cheyenne talks him out of another murder on the promise that Moxon is going to give up his badge and murderous ways. Moxon agrees to this to save his life. The lynching is avoided and the three men ride out of town the next morning.

Outside town at the fork in the road, Moxon reneges on his promise and declares his partnership with Cheyenne dissolved. He orders Bodie to give up the badge and Sevier. Cheyenne refuses, saying he intends to keep promise he made to bring the prisoner in alive. Moxon and Cheyenne face each other down on horseback. When Moxon draws, Cheyenne fires and finishes him. He and Sevier continue down the road to Kansas to face justice.


“They went to a lot of trouble to want to rob a man with less than 10 dollars on him."

- Cheyenne wonders at the stupidity of criminals.

“What about you? What do you do?”
“Aw, nothin’ special…just kinda drift wherever the wind takes me.”
“No tap roots?”
“Horse and a bedroll.”

- Moxon asks Cheyenne about his background.


Sheriff Barnes doesn't like the idea of helping Moxon hunt down John Sevier.

“It’s a thankless job. Little gratitude and the chance of getting gunned by any blowhard that thinks he can make a reputation killing you.”

- Moxon paints a bleak portrait of his job to play on Cheyenne’s sympathy.

"They wait till there’s a road between us then they shoot their mouths off….They yell their heads off about law and order, but when it hits home they burn up with righteousness and it’s another story. The world’s full of pious fools, Cheyenne."

- Moxon reacts to angry townspeople yelling at him and Bodie to go away.

"I'm not afraid of the law. I am afraid of Moxon."
"I'll promise you one thing: If your husband doesn't get there alive, neither will I."
"If you were anybody but his deputy I might believe you."

Della Sevier doesn't trust Cheyenne to do the right thing.

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