Preacher Jim Killian arrives in a town divided between cattlemen and sheep herders. Killian is not just any preacher, He is a former gunslinger who has set upon a different path.
Leelopa, a Native American girl who looks up to Killian, gets raped by one of the cowhands, Coke Beck. Coke is the son of cattle rancher Asa Beck, and when Coke is stabbed to death through the neck, the cattlemen blame Jim.
Madge McCloud, the whiskey-drinking madam of the town’s saloon and brothel, acts as Jim’s conscience. After a gunslinger working for the cattlemen tries to kill Jim, and four cowhands burn the church, he straps on his gun and prepares to act alone.
Madge tells him that he must make a decision to be either a gunman or a preacher — he must choose between Heaven and Hell, or else he risks the trust of the community. She tells him that trying to be both is a worse sort of Hell. But there is also a pending showdown between the cattlemen and the sheepherders over water rights, and somehow Jim must be in the middle of it, whether armed or not.