Arthur Bishop is a veteran hit man who, owing to his penchant for making his targets’ deaths seem like accidents, thinks himself an artist. It’s made him very rich, but as he hits middle age, he’s so depressed and lonely that he takes on one of his victim’s sons, Steve McKenna, as his apprentice. Arthur puts him through a rigorous training period and brings him on several hits. As Steven improves, Arthur worries that he’ll discover who killed his father.
In the depression, Chaney, a strong silent streetfighter, joins with Speed, a promoter of no-holds-barred street boxing bouts. They go to New Orleans where Speed borrows money to set up fights for Chaney, but Speed gambles away any winnings.
At the height of the frontier era, a train races through the Rocky Mountains on a classified mission to a remote army post. But one by one the passengers are being murdered, and their only hope is the mysterious John Deakin, who’s being transported to face trial for murder.
Bank robber Graham Dorsey spends a few hours with beautiful widow Amanda Starbuck, in which time his gang takes part in a disastrous holdup. Learning of his comrades’ demise, Dorsey goes on the lam. Believing her short-term lover was killed by the law, Amanda decides to make the most of having had a liaison with the supposedly deceased desperado by writing a book about him. Much to his confusion, the still-living Dorsey watches as his name becomes legendary.