In Blanton, Ann Jackson is sitting in a cell. She jokingly asks her father, Sheriff Jesse Jackson, if she makes a good-looking jailbird. He pulls her out and says that everyone looks ugly in a cell, and she asks deputy Zach Armstead to witness what her father said. Jesse tells her that Frank Wilson rode in a while back and insists that he's rotten. Ann says that she loves Frank, and Jesse shows her a wanted poster of Frank. His daughter doesn't care and walks out as Hoby comes in. Hoby introduces himself and says that he lost Frank's trail outside of Blanton. Jesse looks at the wanted poster and claims that he never saw Frank before.
Hoby goes to the hotel and gets a room. Two men, Brad Hawkins and Sam Willis, see Hoby go up, and they figure that Hoby may be trouble. They go back to their stores. Meanwhile, Hoby is washing up when he glances out the window and sees Frank riding into town.
Frank goes into the saloon and Hoby comes in after him. The outlaw apologizes for shooting Hoby's horse instead of Hoby, and makes it clear that he isn't going anywhere. He glances over at his men and the owner, Sam, says that they haven't a shooting in two years. Frank explains that Blanton is a closed town and law respects them. Sam says that they don’t have any crime there and they like it that way. Hoby draws his gun and orders Frank out, and the other men draw guns. One man, Phil Macklin, suggests that he and Hoby draw man to man. Frank assures Hoby that Phil won't draw because Hoby is safe in Blanton. Sam insists that they don’t want any trouble, and Hoby walks out.
As Hoby rides out of town, he spots armed men on a bluff watching over the road.
Frank goes to the Jackson home and Jesse talks about how Ann's mother came from expensive stock and wouldn't accept their ways. He explains that when Ann goes East he wants her to be not ashamed. Ann insists that she isn't going East, and Frank says that they're not interested in what they do in the East. She tells Jesse that they're going to get married and offers a toast, but Jesse refuses. He insists that his girl isn't marrying a crook, and Frank asks if she is. Ann has Frank leave until her father cools off, and Jesse warns not to get used to the idea that he'll be his father.
That night, Hoby goes to the sheriff's office and finds Zach there but no sign of Jesse. He figures Jesse knows about the rifleman, but Zach insists that Jesse is a decent human being. Hoby asks Zach whether he'll stand with Jesse or the law in a showdown, and Zach insists that he's Jesse's deputy.
When Hoby goes back to his hotel room, he finds Jesse waiting. Jesse asks for Hoby's help and says that he'll send Zach to telegraph for a squadron of Rangers. In return he wants to shake Ann free of Frank. Jesse wants Hoby to tell Ann about Frank's history as a criminal, and figures that she'll listen to Hoby when she won't listen to her father. He explains that Ann figures that he's the same as Frank, and when he took the job of sheriff he didn't have a family. His wife died of illness five years ago, and Jesse decided that Ann would never go shy of money. He gets a $10 a head "tax" for every criminal that holes up there, and Hoby points out that the whole town benefits. He warns that if the Rangers get there then Hoby will take Jesse with him, and Jesse agrees to prison as long as Ann gets a decent life.
The next day, Zach supposedly goes fishing and rides off to get the Rangers. Hoby watches and then goes to the Jackson home and says that he wants to talk to Ann. Zach's horses brings Zach back into town, and Hoby runs over and confirms that he's shot dead. Frank and Jesse are watching, and Frank says that it doesn't concern them because Zach was shot outside of town. Jesse warns Hoby that now they're both locked in.
Hoby returns to the Jackson house and talks to Ann. She wonders why someone would kill Zach, and Hoby says that he crossed the wrong people. Ann insists that her father has kept the peace in Blanton, and Hoby tells her what Frank said. He explains that Jesse is worried about Ann, and explains that he's willing to go to prison to straighten Ann out. Hoby tells her that she'll always be on the run with Frank and they'll end up hating each other, but Ann doesn't want to hear it. As Hoby goes, Jesse comes in and tells Ann that Frank had Zach killed. Ann doesn't believe him and says that she's sick of being around him, and storms out. Hoby admits that he didn't help, and Jesse tells him that they should get Frank together. He figures the townspeople won't help, and Hoby tells him to go to his office while he looks around.
Hoby goes to the general store and tries to get Brad to help. Brad suggests that Hoby should arrest everyone in town as accomplices, but Hoby says that he's deputizing him and tells him to go to the sheriff's office and wait.
At the saloon Ann confronts Frank, who denies any involvement in Zach's death. He walks out and Phil tells him that Hoby is deputizing people. Sam warns that killing Zach was a mistake, and one of the gang agrees with him. The outlaw prepares to leave, figuring Hoby just wants Frank. Frank figures that once they take care of Hoby, Jesse will fall in line. Hoby leaves the hotel and Phil goes out to confront him. He draws and Hoby outdraws and kills him.
Jesse and his deputies come out, and Hoby calls to the gang and says that he only wants Frank and the rest have three minutes to ride out. The gang agrees and leaves, and Frank turns to find Ann looking at him. He grabs her and uses her as a shield, and gives them three minutes to clear him a path. Ann wonders why Frank has turned against her, and she figures that she would only have married him to punish herself. He reminds her that she told him that Jesse thought he couldn't do anything for her, and that's when he turned crooked to give her the good things in life. Ann admits that Frank is right and she's been a fool.
Hoby tells Jesse to give in, but Jesse says that he'll handle it and runs in. Meanwhile, Ann tries to run. Jesse comes in and exchanges shots with Frank. Hoby jumps through the window and kills Frank. Ann runs to her father and discovers that he's wounded, and begs his forgiveness
Later, Frank and Ann prepare to leave town so that Frank can face trial for his crimes. The townspeople tell him that they want him back as sheriff, and the Jacksons leave with Hoby,
Written by Gadfly on Apr 24, 2017