"You just wanna save yourselves from doin' a murder and I ain't ashamed of loving Roseanna," says Johnse at the onset of dawn, the hour at which the McCoy boys have declared that Johnse will die for his ill-fated love.
None of the McCoys have the heart to murder Johnse, so they try to coerce him into doing the 'honourable' thing and taking his own life. Devil arrives with a posse to halt the McCoys' execution programme, but the beating Johnse receives from his father when he gets home is a fate only slightly better than death.
On finding out that Roseanna, who witnesses the row, is carrying Johnse’s child, Devil declares: "You'll never marry a McCoy." When Roseanna runs scared from the room, he says to his son: "You leave this house to go after her, you don't come back. You make your choice. Stay or go."
The McCoy boys soon find themselves on the end of some Hatfield-style justice when a minor altercation at a fair escalates to a knife fight, with Devil's brother Ellison emerging the worst off.
When Randall comes looking for his three captured boys, Devil's deal is that if Ellison lives, he will hand back the boys and let the law take its course. If Ellison dies, the boys will suffer a similar fate.
Ellison passes away and the boys, despite the protestations of their mother, succumb to the fate that Devil promised. This raises the bad blood between the two families to a new level and brings to town a motley collection of hired guns, all in the running for the reward that the McCoys have raised to get their revenge.
Skunkhair Tom Wallace is the first of the Hatfields to fall to a bounty hunter's bullet. Before long
Devil, with a king’s ransom on his head, finds himself in the line of fire.