Banker Hamilton is closing up for the day when Rudy Gray persuades him to stay open for one more transaction--a withdrawal at gunpoint. When Lucas, acting sheriff, is forced to shoot the man, he's unaware that Rudy has a $2,000 reward. A bounty hunter finds out about the reward and poses as Rudy's brother to collect him--and the reward--before Lucas finds out.moreless
A conman places bets on a vulnerable mentally-slow young man with a talent for shooting, then attempts to manipulate him into a gunfight with Lucas by telling him Lucas has been making fun of him.
The McCains try to be tolerant of their embittered neighbor Abel MacDonald, who tells Lucas to keep off his land and won't allow his son to become friends with Mark. However, they decide he's gone too far when he won't allow his injured boy to get medical treatment.
After a mountain man is killed in a barroom brawl, the brother who kills him blames Lucas. The dead man's father then arrives in North Fork determined to take revenge on Lucas and Marshal Torrance, once he breaks his other two boys out of jail.
On a trip to a neighboring town, Lucas goes looking for a missing friend and gets tied up in a murder investigation.
After wandering the countryside for four years, Lucas McCain and his 10-year-old son, Mark, arrive in North Fork, New Mexico Territory, looking to settle down. Seeing a sign promoting an upcoming turkey shoot with a $500 prize, Lucas decides to enter, hoping to win money that will put a nice dent in the price of a ranch on which he intends to make an offer. Lucas is subsequently backed into a corner when the town bully, Jim Lewis threatens Mark's life in order to force him to throw the contest.moreless
The new schoolmaster's harsh stern manner causes Mark & his friend, Billy to play hooky, resulting in Mark's becoming trapped in an abandoned mine when the ceiling collapses.
Lucas agrees to take a job as a federal undercover agent and goes to Wyoming to investigate rumors of sales of arms to renegade Indians. His life is endagered by the town drunk who stumbles onto his true identity and purpose.
Jake and Fay Owens, old friends of Micah, are the McCains' new neighbors. Jake quickly develops an unreasoning jealousy of Lucas with Fay.
The Queen-to-be of France hides out in North Fork.
Johnny Clover, an artistically-talented orphaned young man is raised by his abusive Uncle Gus, who refuses to allow Johnny to attend school. When a frustrated Johnny wrecks the schoolroom, Lucas seeks out the uncle to pay damages, beginning a domino-effect of life-changing events.
Able Lincoln's claim that he's the Great Emancipator himself amuses everyone except Matt Yordy.
Mark finds himself the unwilling companion of gunman Carl Avery, who abducts the boy while his accomplice demands a ransom from Lucas.
An army captain comes to North Fork to kill the man who shot down his son in a gunfight - Lucas McCain.
Lucas is cursed for death by a Mescalaro witch doctor: he was foreman of a jury that convicted an Apache.
A deathbed request from an old friend & neighboring rancher sends Lucas to a neighboring town to bring back the man's new wife of two weeks that he barely knows.
Although a drought has forced local cowhands to seek work on a railroad construction project, railroad executives are afraid that their workers will desert them if they believe an old man's claim to have found a way to make rain.