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In a bar, during the late 1870s, Frame Johnson and his brother Luther play poker with hotheaded Fred Brandt. Frame, who is known as the man who "cleaned up Kansas and killed thirty-five men, one for each year of his life," gives his winnings to a Mexican so that he can return home. Frame, Luther, Brandt and their pal, "Deadwood," then hit the trail, and a turn of the cards directs them to Tombstone, Arizona. In the wild town, Fin Elder's campaign for sheriff is winding down amid vote-buying and the murder of his opponents. In the Golden Girl saloon, bartender Ed Deal recognizes Frame from Kansas City, and the foursome obtain a room and two beds. Frame's reputation as a staunch supporter of law and order have earned him the nickname of "Saint" Johnson. Frame reluctantly accepts the job of marshal, which places him in conflict with Fin and his allies, the Northrups. When Kurt Northrup mutilates the poster of an actress whom Brandt loves, the two men fight. Kurt's brother Walt pays Kurt's subsequent court fine but warns Frame and his friends to leave town. Later Frame argues in front of a mob that Johnny Kinsman, who killed deputy Joe Todd, should hang legally instead of being lynched, the standard form of justice in Tombstone. Frame enacts a ban on firearms which leads circuit judge R. W. Williams to suspect that Frame is trying to take over the town. After Luther is forced to kill Kurt when he threatens to shoot him and the bartender, Frame decides they too must abandon their guns. After the funeral, the Northrups ambush and kill the drunken Brandt. Heartbroken over his friend's death, Frame announces he will leave town as soon as he has avenged the murder. The ensuing shootout ends in a barn, and after he kills Poe Northrup, Frame is the sole survivor. "Deadwood" has died, and Luther passes away in Frame's arms. Frame refuses to believe such a town wants peace and leaves Tombstone as a bell tolls.