A marshal tries to bring the son of an old friend, an autocratic cattle baron, to justice for the rape and murder of his wife.
After a band of drunken thugs overruns a small Indian Nation town, killing Minister Goodnight and raping the women folk, Eula Goodnight enlists the aid of Marshal Cogburn to hunt them down and bring her father's killers to justice.
The Elder boys return to Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral. John the eldest is a well known gunfighter and trouble follows him wherever he goes. The boys try to get back their ranch from the towns gunsmith who won it from their father in a card game with which he was shortly murdered there after but not before getting through the troubles that come with the Elders name. The four sons of Katie Elder reunite in their Hometown of Clearwater, Texas for their Mother's funeral, and discover that the family ranch is now in the hands of Morgan Hastings, the town's gunsmith.