The village of Ford Florey is hosting its annual Wild West show and festival. Tom and Joyce are in attendance when Faye Lennox is shot dead by a sniper from some distance away and with a deadly aim. Faye, as the whole town is aware, is having an affair with Jack Fincher, who has been involved in a long-standing struggle with Silas Burbage over a piece of seemingly worthless swamp land.
Soon after the death of his lover, Jack Fincher is also murdered and Barnaby and Jones have a whole list of potential suspects as Fincher was an unpopular man and the Burbage family, among others, were certainly no friends of his. The only person with a cast-iron alibi is his wife, Susan and the police have to try and sort out who owned the swamp land before they can zero in on a likely suspect? Are Silas Burbage or his son, Adam, in any way involved or perhaps they should be looking more closely at Leo Fincher, son of Jack? When Leo also turns up dead, slung across a horse western- he is one more suspect who can be eliminated.
A closer look into the entire situation surrounding who does or doesn't own the swamp leads to the possible involvement of a gypsy traveller who wants to buy the land from whoever owns it. Unfortunately, when there is another death, the plot thickens to the point where just about everybody is a suspect. Thank goodness for Tom's excellent powers of detection and his ability to anravel the whole mystery.