Parker comes out of a cabin, unaware that Bret is standing in the darkness behind him with a gun aimed at him. Bret finally tells Parker to put down his gun, then comes up behind him and takes Parker inside. Parker recognizes Bret, who asks Parker where the money he lost in poker came from. Bret explains that the money was taken from a robbed stagecoach. Parker admits that he knew it was stolen money, and Bret explains that the marshal in Quillary figures Bret stole it. Bret escaped, and tells Parker to come with him to Quillary to clear him. Parker insists that he didn't know it was stolen, and the three men who gave him the money were Shield, Kane, and Johnny. Johnny gave Parker the money and has a habit of twisting a gold ring on his finger.
Bret isn't impressed and tells Parker to move. Parker refuses to go, telling Bret that he'll have to drag him. he goes for his gun and they struggle, In the fight, Parker ends up shooting himself and Bret figures that he has no way to clear himself.
Five days later, Bret goes to Bandera to find the three robbers. He sees a sandwich board man, Ponca Brown, walking down the street advertising the Red Front Casino. Ponca comes over and recognizes Bret as a gambler, and says that there's an opening at the casino for a dealer because the old one was shot dead. Giving Ponca a dollar to keep his secret, Bret says that he's using the name "Bret Martin".
Bret goes around town and asks about the three men. He has no luck and goes to the Red Front looking for strangers in town. Ponca introduces him to the owner, Cora Beth. Cora tells Bret that he'll do as a dealer. Bret says that he's looking for a game, not a job, and as Cora watches away Ponca warns him not to look at her because the other dealer did the same, and a man, Stacey Johnson, killed him. "Johnny" is the meanest man in town and made Doc Holliday back down.
Bret notices that Johnny is twisting his gold ring. He goes over to where Johnny is dealing, buys in, and tells Johnny that he knows him. Johnny says that Doc is a cheap tinhorn and a sick man, and Bret tells him that he can't imagine Doc backing down. Cora overhears them, tells them to play nice, and says that she wants to see Johnny in her office when he's done. Bret goes up to Cora's office and says that he'll take the job. Cora says that her husband ran the casino better, and his name was Cole Creighton. Cole was killed robbing a bank, and he left Cora the casino. She sends Bret to relieve Johnny.
Ten days later, Bret doesn't find Shield or Kane. He gets close enough to Johnny that the two of them are friendly, but Johnny doesn't say much else. Doc arrives while Bret is dealing and recognizes him. He's heard a lot about Bret and mistakes him for Johnny. He challenges Bret to a gunfight because of the slur to his reputation. Ponca confirms that Bret isn't the regular dealer, and Doc apologizes for the mistake. He asks Bret to go upstairs and tell Johnny in Cora's office that he's there.
Bret figures that he has to keep Johnny alive to eventually clear him. He enters Cora's office without knocking and Johnny draws on him. Bret tells him that he made have made a mistake and Doc is downstairs wanting an apology. Johnny isn't impressed and tells Cora that he can take him. Bret confirms that Doc was gambling and winning, and says that Doc doesn't like to kill a man who is winning because he thinks it brings him bad luck. Johnny concedes the point but figures that he can't back down. Bret suggests that there's another way out and asks to speak to Cora alone outisde. Cora agrees and tells Johnny to wait in her office.
Cora and Bret go out on the balcony and Bret asks if it's worth $10,000 to keep Johnny alive. He suggests that he get Doc into a game and keep him occupied while Cora convinces Johnny to leave town. Bret goes down and tells Doc that Johnny is in a business meeting with Cora. He invites Doc to play cards with him while they wait, and takes out a marked deck that Cora gave him on his request. Doc refuses, saying that he's had a losing streak, and Bret says that he has well and offers to bet Doc on it. They play blackjack and Doc loses... but they were betting on the losing hand.
Cora watches from her office and says that she wants her money's worth, but Johnny isn't impressed. She says that Shields and Kane will be back with the information she sent them out for, and then she can take the money and set herself up in Frisco with a bigger casino. Johnny wants half instead of a fourth, and Cora asks for time to think about it.
Doc wins on a lucky streak thanks to Bret setting him up. Johnny comes down and the customers move out of the line of fire. Doc says that they have some unfinished business, but he's having a lucky streak and figures they can settle up later. Johnny agrees, figuring that Doc is backing down again, and goes to the bar to buy a round of drinks. Bret deals Doc another winning hand.
Ponca drinks at the bar and says that he can take Doc. The bartender, Gus, cuts him off. Bret keeps dealing winning hands to Doc, and Ponca heads home. However, he draws his gun on Doc's back. Bret sees him and shoots the gun out of his hand, and Doc draws on him. The dealer tells Doc to look over his shoulder, and Ponca says that he wouldn't have shot him in the back and runs off. Bret claims that he was afraid that Ponca would hit him. Doc calls it for the night and checks the deck, and notices that it's marked. He tells Bret that he's disappointed in him because he's been cheating him, letting him win. Doc says that he'll spare Bret's life as a "favor" for saving his life, but he'll still go after Johnny.
Cora has seen the entire thing from upstairs, and comes down and congratulates Bret. She says that he's cool and Johnny is a hothead, and she wants Bret to take Johnny's place in the things that matter. Cora tells Bret that their next robbery is bigger than the $10,000 they took in the last robbery. Bret agrees and explains that they have two other partners who will be back in the morning. Cora regrets that she spent $10,000 to keep Johnny alive before she learned she didn't need him.
Bret figures the stolen money is in a safe in Cora's office. He sneaks in an hour later and it takes him until sunrise to get the first two numbers. Cora gets up, and Bret gets the third number. He takes one bill of each denomination for evidence, Bret fakes coming in as Cora comes into the office, gun drawn. He says that he thought they'd celebrate their new partnership over breakfast. When Bret offers to go, Cora points out that Doc is out there and will shoot him on sight, and Bret says that's why he came over early. She sends him to get a bottle of champagne from Gus.
As he leaves the casino to get his horse, he finds the Quillary marshal and his men waiting for him. The marshal says that they captured Shields and Kane, and have cleared Bret of the robbery. The marshal sends his men in to get Johnny, and Bret gives him the bills and says that he needs to leave town. As the deputies bring out Cora, Johnny sees them from across the street and hides. The marshal tells Bret that he can leave, and Bret heads for his horse before Doc spots him.
Bret goes to the stable, and Johnny gets the drop on him. Johnny figures that Bret is a lawman, and says that they're going to ride out of town so no one hears his gun when he kills Bret. Doc comes in and points out that their business isn't completed. He notes that Johnny has his gun out and he hasn't, and invites Johnny to back him down. Johnny tries to shoot and Doc draws and kills him. He then holsters his gun and tells Bret to go for his gun. Doc laughs and says that he knew Bret would do it, and says that he was wrong to think Bret and Johnny were friends. He's remembered Bret and says that his business in Bandera is finished. Bret says that his is as well and they ride off together.
Written by Gadfly on Jul 7, 2019