The clerk at the Dodge House comes in loudly yelling that the hotel is full of Indians. Matt investigates and finds three Nez Perce, one of whom is a chief and very ill. The hotel owner refuses to rent the Indians a room but Lieutenant Tripp, a liaison for the US government, offers them his.
While Doc Adams is treating the sick chief, Tripp explains that the chief has been invited to an audience by the President and that his orders are to protect Chief Joseph on his journey since he has refused to take the train.
Later in the evening, the citizens gather at the Long Branch intending to force Matt to get the Indians out of town. Wild rumors have spread about the reason for their presence. Matt clears up the rumors but is attacked by one of the men. Matt banishes Charlie from Dodge for a month.
Charlie rides out to find Corley Watts, a mountain man who lost his brother fighting the Nez Perce, and tells him that Chief Joseph is in Dodge City and the marshal is protecting him. Corley Watts rides back into Dodge with Charlie.
Festus tells Tripp to warn Matt and then attempts to distract Watts. As the mob converges on the Dodge House, Matt tells Doc to go upstairs and reassure the braves while he and Lieutenant Tripp prepare to hold off the mob. Doc warns Matt that he can't fight with his injured gun arm but the marshal reminds him that it's either that or turn the chief over to the mob.
Matt goes outside to address the mob and attempts to talk Corley Watts out of killing the Nez Perce. He warns that anyone trying to go into the Dodge House after the Indians will be killed. Matt then asks Tripp to identify himself and explain what the Nez Perce are doing in Dodge.
The telegram Matt has been waiting for finally arrives. It states that interfering with or harming the Nez Perce is a federal crime punishable under federal law. The mob disperses except for Charlie and Corley Watts. Watts utters one final threat and leaves. Matt holds Charlie and has Festus take him to jail.
Tripp asks Matt if he could have drawn his gun if he'd needed to do so. Matt avoids answering the question.
Doc pronounces Chief Joseph fit to travel. Tripp offers his protection and safe travel via the train. The chief refuses. Matt plans to ride them out through he back streets so there will be no further trouble. Corley Watts corners them in the alley as they're mounting up. Matt prepares to draw on Corley but Chief Joseph steps in front of him. The chief says that they have both lost kin and the killing needs to end. Chief Joseph offers his death in retribution and Corley lowers his gun. He leaves peaceably and Chief Joseph decides to take the train to Washington as a sign of trust.