As Hoby rides back to Porter after four days out of town, he hears a man calling for help. He goes over and finds the man, Frank, lying in the bushes. They recognize each other and Frank tells Hoby to get into town because he's needed. Hoby asks who did it to him, but Frank passes out before he can answer.
Hoby rides on into Porter and finds the town torn up. He dismounts and walks carefully down the street, looking for the source of the trouble. A man, Blake Yedor, calls a warning to Hoby and the Ranger takes cover as someone shoots at him. Blake, Henrietta, Doc Calhoun, and several other townspeople are in the bank, and Blake says that the attackers are in the saloon and one is on the second floor. Hoby gets in He tells them that Frank needs medical attention and asks what's going on Henrietta explains that the Hastings Gang rode into Porter and took over the town, and are set up at Buckhorn. There are least six of them, and they're beating up people just for the fun of it. Judge Henry and Ralph have some other townspeople, but none of them dare shoot back because the gang has Tenner. The night before Tenner was at one of the windows and apparently trying to get away, but a gang member grabbed him and that's the last they saw of Tenner.
At the Buckhorn, the gang is eating and drinking, and Tenner is forced to sit with them. One of the gang, Lafe, tells the leader Will Hastings that it looks like the town sheriff just rode back in. Tenner asks Will how long he plans on staying, and Will says until the rest of his boys get there.
Hoby calls to Will from the bank and says who he is. Will tells him to talk but Hoby wants to meet him face-to-face. Hoby gives his word that none of them will shoot, and Will wants to hear what he has to say. He has one of his men, Guthrie, bring Tenner out and Hoby tells the townspeople not to shoot unless the gang members open fire. Will promises that he'll kill tenner if there's any trouble, and tells his men to shoot Tenner if anything happens.
Will insists that Hoby come out first, and Hoby tells anyone on the street not to shoot. He then goes to the Buckhorn and Will comes out once Will has him drop his gun belt. Will says they're expecting more of his boys and when they get there, they'll ride to Mexico and join up with General Diaz. Hoby tells him to get his men and ride out of Porter, and Will says that they'll stay as long as they want. Will admits that they beat Frank to stop him from getting a warning out, and they plan to keep Tenner. Hoby tells him to get out of Porter and leave Tenner unharmed.
As Will goes back inside, a townsman fires a shot. He misses, and Will runs into the Buckhorn. Tenner insists that it wasn't Hoby, and Hoby yells out that he had nothing to do with the shooter. He tells Will that no one will stop Will if he walks out, and Hoby tells the townspeople that he gave his word and Tenner is his hostage. Meanwhile, Will tells his men that they'll wait until the dark for the others to arrive and then leave. When Lafe says that they should kill Tenner, Will points out that Tenner is the only thing standing behind them and the townspeople. However, he agrees to let Lafe kill Tenner before they leave.
An hour before dark, Hoby tells Calhoun to move some kind of cover in front of the Buckhorn and to set up the people. He then tells Blake to find ralph and round up every man that he can find, and surround the place. However, Hoby insists that they give the gang the chance to walk out. Calhoun goes out the back and sets up the men. When he comes back, Hoby explains that he sent a telegram to Austin but no one will get there in town. As for Will's thirty other men, they hit a town and slipped away from the Austin Rangers.
Lafe spots the townspeople wheeling a hay wagon up and calls the others over. Will figures that they're coming for them, and Guthrie insists that they should have left when they had the chance. When Will calls Tenner's guard out, Tenner jumps out the window and gets away. Will tells his men to load 'em up because a war is coming.
Tenner gets to the bank as Will and his men open fire. He tells Hoby that there are six men inside, and Hoby says that it's time to get them out. He goes out and joins the townspeople behind the wagon, and calls to Will. Will tells him to back off, and Hoby warns him that he's in bad trouble. The leader says that his men will stand with him, and they look nervously at Will.
Hoby tells the townspeople to tear the gang apart, and they open fire. The shooting goes on for an hour but neither side can break the stalemate although the gang loses three members. Hoby finally figures that they can smoke the gang out and makes up some smoke bombs. They toss the combs in and Guthrie figures that they're up. When he says that he's going to run, Will promises to kill him. Guthrie yells to Hoby that three of them want to give up, and Hoby orders them out. Will shoots Guthrie as he goes out, and Lafe when he makes a run for it. Tenner runs in to go after Will, and takes a bullet in the leg. Will runs out and the townspeople gang him down.
Later, Hoby, Tenner, Henrietta, and Calhoun share coffee at the Buckhorn. Tenner points out that the gang was all youngsters, and Hoby wonders where they find the parents.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 9, 2017