The average life expectancy for a marshal in Topaz, Arizona, is three weeks. Down-on-his-luck Clay Chandler takes the marshal’s job out of desperation. Clay has barely settled into the job when Vance Hopkins drunkenly guns down a black man. Clay arrests Vance for murder, but Wes Hopkins and his gang run Topaz, and they demand that Vance be released — or else. Clay has given his word to uphold the law, though, and he’ll do that even if it means losing his life. No one else in Topaz thinks a dead black man is worth taking on the Hopkins gang — no one but a former slave named Essex Johnson, who was the murdered man’s friend. Ex-Confederate Clay and Essex can’t stand each other, but Clay reluctantly swears Essex in as his deputy. The two of them are aided by a prostitute named Julie, who had her face carved up by the Hopkins gang. Wes Hopkins gives Clay a deadline to release Vance, or the gang is going to come and take him. The question is, will the Hopkins gang kill Clay and Essex, or will they kill each other first?