It’s that time of year when the weather is nice, and Matt talks with Chester abut the cattle herds that’ll be coming in soon. They are interupted when there’s a minor scuffle on the road into Dodge. A rancher is punishing his son, Packy, over an infraction of a family rule. Matt intervenes in the public display, but skirts around the man’s right to handle his family affairs how he likes, as long as it’s in private. A sheep herder rides up and gets attitude from the rancher. The sheep man has been offering aid to Packy. Can’t Matt do anything to step in to take Packy out of the abusive home?
Doc takes time to investigate a dead prairie dog. Matt doesn’t see the significance of the critter, at first. Jason comes to talk to Matt about his latest whipping. He loves his dad, but can’t understand why his dad beats him so much. Matt figures the youth is grown up enough that he ought to be a man soon, and the abuse will be over. Jasons violence boils over when the sheep herder keeps intruding on his afffairs. Will he be able to control himself, or might gun play be in store?
In the Long Branch salloon, Matt relaxes with Kitty. Packy has disappeared, and the rancher thinks Matt is slacking and not going after the sheep herder who he’s sure has taken his boy away. Matt figures the youth is old enough to make his own decisions, and is tired of being kicked around at home. Is he right? Matt and Chester ride out to try to intervene as violence breaks out on the prairie when the rancher faces down the sheep herder. Rage is let loose, bullets fly, but the murder at the end of it isn’t what the rancher planned on.