The Hard Man is the story of a former sheriff, Steve Burden (Guy Madison), who caught quite a few wanted men in his time. Unfortunately, he brought so many of them in dead that he was discharged as sheriff. The last town where he killed an outlaw was El Solito, and it appears that the outlaw was framed for murder. Now, the Sheriff of El Solito, Rice Martin (Lorne Greene), wants Steve to take on the job as his deputy. Steve returns to El Solito determined to find out who framed the outlaw. As he digs deeper into the truth, Fern Martin (Valerie French), Rice's wife, warns Steve that several hired gunmen are looking for him. In addition to being the Sheriff of El Solito, Rice Martin is a wealthy and ruthless landowner who controls the town. Steve quickly realizes that his life may be in danger by the very man who hired him.