In 1880, Bat Masterson’s old friend, Ben Thompson, asks him to help save his brother from the gallows. Ben’s brother, Billy, has evidently shot off a man’s thumb in a gunfight and is wounded himself. While Billy claims self-defense, an overzealous sheriff is eager to see him hang. Though he is no longer a lawman, and he lacks any kind of legal authority, Bat agrees to travel to Nebraska to talk to the sheriff. When his common-sense appeal fails to impress the sheriff, Bat hatches an elaborate plan to help Billy escape, which only succeeds when Buffalo Bill shows up to lend a hand. Years later, when Bat’s editor balks at printing the tale, Bat tries to explain the difficulties of dispensing justice in the Old West.