Mitch and Andy are concerned about the erratic behavior of their fellow rodeo rider Royce Bennett. Unbeknownst to them, Royce is harboring a deadly secret, one that gravely affects him, his wife and his little boy.
Clementine, the estranged daughter of broken-down rodeo hand Barney Hamlin, shows up and invites her father to her wedding, which results in a fiery family reunion with ex-wife Sabina. Mitch and Andy aid and abet best they can from the sidelines of the unfolding family drama.
Mitch Guthrie's Korean War unit reunites for the dedication of a monument to their fallen comrade Eddie Gannon. The reunion quickly devolves into a series of painful recollections of the night Eddie died. A compelling character study.
Mitch agrees to testify in a hearing as a favor to ex-rodeo hand Barney, who is now a small town sheriff. But the town's power brokers have bigger plans, plotting to use Mitch as a pawn and a patsy in their political campaign.
Andy is savagely beaten with a lug wrench by Ernie Stannard, the sixteen-year-old son of wealthy, doting parents. Is the boy a pathological criminal or a victim of society? Will justice or his parents' pull in the community prevail?
Andy falls hard for a carnival dancer, much to Mitch's displeasure. This leads to friction between the brothers, and causes Andy to feel the need to prove his independence by signing up to ride a bull in the rodeo.
A veteran rodeo clown is noticeably slowing down due to arthritis, leading to an injury when a bull knocks him over. Everyone is encouraging him to retire, but he refuses because he wants to continue to make money to support his spendthrift son.
Andy is impressed by the stories Warren Price tells him about all of his exploits, which have even been put into a book. But Mitch is highly skeptical of Price's claims and suspects that they are all made up.
Mitch and Andy cross paths with their Uncle Walt, a curmudgeonly old con man running rigged shell games and selling shares in a phony uranium mine. Can a kindly widow's back rubs and oatmeal rehabilitate the reprobate grifter?
Both Mitch and Andy fall for the same young woman, but she falls more for Mitch, to Andy's disappointment. What neither brother knows is that her zest for life and adventure masks the fact that she is dying of leukemia.
Mitch's old mentor and idol Johnny Prewitt is now aged, crippled, and embittered. His one goal in life is to capture and break the wild stallion that crippled him. Mitch tries to help him do so, even though finding the horse puts him in conflict with the man who now owns Johnny's old ranch.
Wealthy rancher and one-time rodeo rider Lynn Horn has no sympathy or understanding of his sensitive son Gabriel's interest in drawing, and pushes him into doing something more manly. When Gabriel thus tries to ride a dangerous horse and is crippled in the attempt, Lynn blames the horse and plans to kill it.
A brilliant surgeon who fled Hungary for America finds it too difficult and time-consuming to obtain a license to practice here, so he has been working as a veterinarian instead. But he can't resist giving his medical opinion to people, which causes friction with the local doctor.
A friend of Mitch, a popular country singer, is suggested by his wife as the ideal gubernatorial candidate whom a newspaper editor is looking for to defeat the crooked incumbent. But after he gets into the race and ahead in the polls, the honest candidate finds himself having to deal with the less than scrupulous methods of those on his own side.
When young Cindy Hopkins' beloved horse breaks her leg, the vet tells her that she must be put down, but Cindy refuses to accept it. Another vet, an old friend of Mitch and Andy, thinks the horse can be saved, but is too unsure of himself to attempt it. Cindy is thus driven to desperate measures.
Mitch and Andy become involved in the dispute between an Amish farmer and his son. The son wants to read books on many subjects, such as dinosaurs and rockets, but his father strongly disapproves, believing it will lead his son away from their simple way of life.
Delirious after being hit by a car, Mitch rides a bus deep into Mexico, where he is taken in by a beautiful young Mexican woman. She tells him she works as a secretary, but he learns soon that this is for her elderly grandfather's benefit; she actually is a cabaret dancer who's boss is not about to let her go.
Mitch develops an attraction for a socialite who he first met when she picked him out on her scavenger hunt when she was looking for a cowboy, though Andy tries to warn him not to get involved with her.
Mitch and Andy pick up Carlos Rodriguez and his girlfriend and take them back to their hometown, where a charity rodeo is planned in which the young man hopes to earn some money so he can marry the girl. But Communists there are stirring up discontent with the Americans, and plan to use Carlos to bring it to a head and make Mitch into the town's symbolic pariah.
Mitch knocks out a man with a lucky punch in a barroom brawl, only to then learn that the man in Tom Kidwell, a contender for world heavyweight champion. The good-hearted Tom is totally forgiving about the incident, but his manager tells him that the upcoming match and his career are both finished unless he fights Mitch and wins---and only by a knockout.
While driving through a town Mitch and Andy almost hit a boy who is running away from his classmates. Soon they learn why: the boy is the son of the manager of the mill which the town depends on for its income. The manager is too risk-averse to reopen the mill after a shutdown of several weeks, and the anger of the townfolk has reached boiling point.