Rowdy and Pete run into problems crossing a ranch owned by a lady with a rough foreman. In the nearby town the men find Clay Forrester working as a marshal taking the census. He wrangles Favor's men to work for him on it and his scheme.
When Favor goes to a fort for supplies, he finds only civilians left to hold off Comancheros in the area. The wife of the commandant sent out the last of the soldiers on her own hoping her husband would win a promotion and trip east.
The men spot a Jewish peddler trying to herd cattle from his wagon. Favor lets him join the drive for his safety. However, over time he proves to be a lucky charm for the drive and eventually finds his own luck and love.
The drovers come across a group of women who say they headed to Fort Worth to marry homesteaders. After a dance they go their separate ways until one is found dying. Favor, Rowdy, and Hey Soos try to help but find themselves hostages, too.
Favor finds his path blocked at a property line by an owner protecting his rights. At the same time his two daughters and sister-in-law decide to visit the cattle drive. The rancher wants to marry his sister-in-law and adopt his daughters.
Warned not to cross Pawnee lands, Favor and Nolan ride to a nearby fort for details. They find the fort undermanned awaiting reinforcements and themselves drafted into the Army to rescue six soldiers held hostage who are really deserters.
Clad in deepest mourning, a very wealthy woman comes to the small town where her dead son robbed a bank and killed a man. She is prepared to pay each resident several years' income if they agree to wipe her son's crimes off the books.
On a trip to collect a debt, Rowdy sees an elderly woman apparently hounded by thieves. After rescuing her they go to a nearby town where Rowdy is to collect the debt and she awaits a stage. However, she frames Rowdy for multiple thefts.
When a drover is killed by Indians saving a pitchman, the drovers try to raise money for the his family. The pitchman suggests a rigged card game but when that fails his idea of a concert with his wife may leave the drovers high and dry.
A Tonkawa boy is found starving on his way to Fort Lacey to find his sister to help his starving tribe. He unknowingly unearths that Col. Briscoe known as the butcher of Indians is unwittingly married to his sister thinking she is Spanish.
Clay, Wishbone, and Jim find some of their cattle have anthrax and while isolated are taken captive by a Prussian military Officer and held as slaves. When they tell the other workers about American freedom, trouble erupts.
Mushy's cousin and her younger sister are in a nearby town. The younger 15 year old is the star attraction at the saloon. The older sister married to the owner wants mushy to take her sister away but the girl resists leaving.
The drivers are helped by Pete Nolan who is scouting for the Army. He has worked to obtain a peace treaty with the Pawnee but the General sent to sign it and the Pawnee Chief both find conflict with their sons over it leading to tragedy.
Rowdy is kidnapped and finds himself trapped in a house with a motley group of characters who have no idea why they are being held against their will. This proves to be Rawhide's version of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians."
The crew stumbles on a ghost town with a prospector and his three daughters. The prospector tries to keep some of the men there for his daughters by salting a claim but it soon mushrooms out of control.
The herd is close to Abilene with another herd a few days behind and few buyers in Abilene. When the second herd discovers tick fever, the trail boss is murdered and Favor takes over not knowing the sick cattle are now in his herd.
One of the drovers falls sick the night before they end the drive at Abilene. The sick man may have smallpox forcing the sheriff to quarantine the men. Favor needs to leave to seal a deal on a ranch and an old foe of Rowdy wants revenge.
A man looking for a job is recognized by Rowdy and Clay. Rowdy knows him as a fellow Confederate soldier while Clay knows him as a bounty hunter. When he admits it, everyone begins to think he is after them causing the men to revolt.
After unintentionally killing a blind girl's father, a man signs on as a drover with Favor. When Favor is asked to escort the girl to another town. Favor unwittingly assigns the man as her driver where he comes to cherish her company.
Forrester notices a man trailing the herd for a few days but he's elusive. After one of the men stampedes the herd, the man drives in a few strays and asks for a job. The men are suspicious of his actions and they soon learn he has a past.
They find a young man half baked at a water hole. His attitude gets him off to a bad start with the men except for old horse wrangler Sam Hargis. The kid Ben Whitney is a rich kid but he does his job and develops a relationship with Sam.
The herd is caught in a possible range war over land and a woman. Favor needs additional drovers to push the herd out of the area but unknown to him the four men he is able to hire are pushing him into the war and want his herd as well.
Favor finds a passed out woman and her baby in the wilderness. The lady recovers and tells Favor her husband is dead and she is headed to California. She neglects to tell him the grandfather and uncles of the baby are after the baby.
The drovers rescue soldiers under Indian attack. Chief Broken Bow surrounds the herd. Favor finds Sgt. Duclos was involved with the death of the Chief's son and wife. The Chief takes a settler's wife and son hostage forcing the Sgt's hand.
With Favor gone, Rowdy has a problem when a pack of wolves start causing bothering the herd. A wolfer and his family offer Rowdy a deal to handle the wolves. At first bypassing the offer, Rowdy later agrees but runs into complications.
As the herd nears Sugar Creek Sam Garrett is seriously hurt and they learn the herd is facing tick fever ahead. When the people of Sugar Creek learn Sam is with the herd, the town turns on the drovers except for Marcie who runs the saloon.
Wishbone and Rowdy go to town for supplies. Rowdy decides to get a bath and spend the evening on the town. At the saloon the bartenders spike the drinks he and a lady have hoping to break them up. Instead Rowdy wakes up with a bride.
Gil stops to see an old friend only to find he broke except for 30 head of cattle. He asks Gil to let him add his cattle to the herd and go to Colorado with Gil. Gil relents and does it but his men suffer for it when Lije breaks the rules.
Monty Fox wanders into camp dehydrated and starved. Once revived he has Mushy believing his story about Quivira which is a pot of gold and Fountain of Youth all in one. They steal supplies to search for Quivira forcing Rowdy to find them.
On the way to meet Favor Rowdy, Quince, and Hey Soos buy some cattle of their own from Harvey Calvin. Calvin's son with a crippled leg has learned to doctor animals but wants to be a drover. Rowdy resists but he tries facing new problems.