The Sparta Herald reports that Bill Gillespie and Harriet DeLong will be married in New Orleans, provoking an egg attack on Harriet's car along with well-wishers from the community. A sniper fires a rifle at the two, apparently in response to their impending marriage. But in reality the sniper, Lucas DeFete from Amarillo, Texas, has seen Bill Gillespie's picture in a newspaper which misidentifies him as Sheriff Will McComb, who sent his father Earle DeFete to death row. Lucas kills Harlan, who owns the property where the sniper has been holed up, and kills Roger Owen, an innocent citizen whose car he steals. In spite of their difficulties, Bill and Harriet resolve to be married by Abbot John Dalton at the monastery in Sparta.