After being delayed on an uninhabited island, Phileas Fogg is rushing to make up lost time. Passepartout lost some clothes in the rush to leave San Francisco, and there wasn’t a moment to send a telegram to Fortescue, Fix’s father, to inform him that the group was still alive despite reports to the contrary. Because of a train delay, Fogg has hired a coach to rumble through the West to Battle Mountain, where—if calculations are correct—they can arrive just in time to board another train. They’ll save eight hours—but little comfort, and do it hungry, since Passepartout only has a little food to share amongst them all.
But then the headlong rush is arrested by a man blocking the road and firing a gun into the air. He’s a U.S. Deputy Marshal named Bass Reeves, and he needs a ride to bring a prisoner back east to stand trial for the violation of civil rights—a charge the prisoner, Colonel Ambrose Abernathy scoffs at. They lost a horse, so Abernathy is on foot, handcuffed and tied to Reeves.
A standoff occurs between Reeves and the equally hardened stagecoach driver Sally, but Fogg eventually relents and lets Reeves and Abernathy board the coach. Abernathy recognizes Fogg’s name and mentions that everyone thinks he and his companions are dead. Fix wants to telegram her father when she gets the chance, but Passepartout says it might be safer for them to remain dead, lest Kneedling and Bellamy try to further delay them.
Indeed, Bellamy needs the money soon: he has been served papers ordering him to pay up his debt. He encourages Fortescue to stop burying himself in work and join him in meeting Fogg’s solicitors to settle their late friend’s affairs, including his wager—it’s a matter of honor. Fortescue is Fogg’s executor.
When the stagecoach stops to water the horses, Passepartout learns more about Reeves. He is a former slave who escaped to Cherokee territory and eventually became a marshal after the Civil War. He came west to capture Abernathy, who is a ringleader of the Ku Klux Klan from Tennessee. Abernathy has his own conversation with Fogg, telling him he must “protect” Fix from associating with Passepartout—doesn’t he see the relationship developing between them? Fogg is surprised by the idea of the romance, but decides to let it be. It’s not his place to interfere.
As they set off again, Fix asks to see Reeves’ pistol: her father taught her how to shoot. He then shows her Abernathy’s pistol, which he has confiscated, and lets her keep it.
They reach Battle Mountain with half an hour to spare until the train comes, so everyone sets off to find a bite to eat at the saloon. Walking with Abernathy, Fogg finally realizes Abernathy’s deep racism and distances himself. Fix and Passepartout confront Fogg about his conversation with Abernathy at the water stop, which Passepartout overheard. Passepartout makes the mistake of saying nothing is going on between him and Fix, further angering her, and she goes off to send a telegram to her father while everyone else enters the saloon.
Reeves tells the other customers to leave and counsels Passepartout not to rise to Abernathy’s racist taunts. Fogg tells Abernathy he’s on whatever side is against him, and orders food.
After Fix telegrams her father, the telegraph stops working: the line has been cut. Either the bank’s about to get robbed or somebody’s about to get killed, the operator tells her, as the town’s residents go inside and close their doors.
Three men have ridden into town—they’ve been tracking Reeves in order to free Abernathy. They kill the saloon owner without anyone noticing and take control of the building, releasing Abernathy and taking Reeves’ gun. Abernathy demands a “reckoning” before he leaves: Fogg must cut Passepartout’s finger off, or else Abernathy will kill Fogg in addition to the two Black men. Passepartout tells Fogg to do it, and look after Fix for him.
But then he sees Fix through the window, and begins to stall for time—while also subtly warning Reeves and Fogg to “be prepared.” Fix gallops into the saloon on a horse, knocking over one man and shooting two other before running out of bullets. Fogg crawls with a knife to take down the last man but loses his nerve and kicks him instead. When he turns around to fight Fogg, Reeves grabs a gun and shoots the man in the back. With a punch, Passepartout neutralizes the man Fix galloped over as he tries to attack her.
Reeves ties up that man, the only one left alive, then sets off to find Abernathy, who has disappeared in the tumult. Fogg, Fix, and Passepartout join him—they want to finish this business.
As everyone sets off, leaving Fogg to guard the tied-up man, he notices blood drops and follows them into a barn. Finding Abernathy, he points a rifle at him, demanding he drop his pistol. Abernathy approaches, daring Fogg to shoot him—and Fogg finds resolve, raising his weapon. Abernathy drops the gun, and Passepartout appears, grabbing him and pointing his own pistol at him. Reeves shows up and stops him: they need justice, not revenge.
Fogg asks if standing up to people like Abernathy ever gets any easier, and Reeves replies that it does—if you have people to join you. Just then a train whistle goes off, and Fogg and his companions rush to the train station.
As they cross America, Fortescue receives Fix’s telegram, just before leaving with Bellamy to settle Fogg’s will. “They’re alive!” he cries.
Upon arriving in New York, Fogg and his friends find reporters waiting for them. And he recognizes the large clock in the train station: it’s the same as that on the postcard he received all those days ago calling him a coward.