In the village of Ford Florey, farmer Jack Fincher runs the Wild West Society, organising an annual cowboy fair. He also claims to own a patch of wasteland, known as the Swamp, which Dan Malko wants to buy to create a travellers' site.


Silas Burbage, a debt-ridden farmer, also claims to own the land. Jack's solicitor, Fergal Jenner, is searching for the deeds, while local artist Jude Langham, who hates the Finchers for evicting his family, is reluctant to give information without payment.


Barnaby and Joyce watch a shootout at the Wild West Fayre with Jack's wife Susan. Over at a stall, a woman dressed as a witch is dropped into a water tank. The water turns blood red - it's Faye Lennox, Jack's farm manager and she's been shot.


Barnaby and Jones discover that another villager, Mary Morgan, was due to be on the ducking stool. She claims Jack shot her dog dead and that Faye was Jack's lover.


Malko and Leo fight and Jones questions Malko, who claims the travellers' have saved enough money to buy the land. Meanwhile, Silas erects a fence around the Swamp. Jack gets drunk and takes a sledgehammer to the new fence, but he is lassoed by someone on horseback and dragged to his death.


Silas and Malko meet - the Swamp deal is almost done, but Silas wants to put the price up. Jude disturbs an intruder in his workshop - he's attacked and collapses at the feet of Mary Morgan, whispering a cryptic message about a chimney.


There's nothing up Jude's chimney but police find a gold chain and Dr Bullard reports that an American bullet killed Faye. Silas's son Adam, an optician, tells police the Wild West Society don't have any such weapons. Jenner propositions a reluctant Susan in return for a share of the land if he can prove she owns it. Susan says the chain is Leo's.


Jones visits Jude in hospital and realises the 'chimney' is a picture of Chimney Rock hanging in Jude's living room. He finds a document dating from 1921 behind it.


The violence escalates as Leo's dead body is carried down Ford Florey high street on horseback, then Jenner is stabbed, just as he finds something in an ancient ledger. Barnaby is sent a bullet in the post, claiming Susan will be next. He and Jones rush to her house just as the killer arrives - and they are caught up in a Wild West shoot-out.