Somewhere, a little boy watches in stunned silence as his village is burned and raided, before getting killed himself by one of the raiders. The other villagers try to fight back against their attackers, just as a blonde warrior arrives. A man assumes she's one of the townspeople and tells her to run, but she instead runs him through. Moments later, though, she prevents one of her men, Theodorus, from killing an old woman. However, the reason she wanted to spare the "old crone" was so she could tell the world about what happened there, with the blonde claiming to be Xena, the Warrior Princess.
Later, in a tavern, the real Xena gives a man her drink since he looks like he could use it more than she could. He thanks her, introducing himself as Melas, but then when he learns that her name is Xena, he draws his sword, trying to kill her. He explains that a woman from his village had told him that Xena and her army had murdered everyone but the woman, including Melas's six-year-old son. Xena denies it, and that's when Melas informs her that "every traveler between here and Corinth" has told him something similar. Melas then vows vengeance for his son's death, but Xena calmly replies that he's got the wrong person and leaves with Gabrielle. A little bit later, while traveling to Corinth to investigate Melas's claims, Xena and Gabrielle are approached by a warrior calling himself Joxer the Mighty, who offers his services as a sidekick; however, Xena tells him to get lost. As the companions continue on, Melas tries again to kill Xena, but she easily fends him off and ties him to a tree. Gabrielle points out that if Xena was the monster Melas thinks she is, she would have killed him already. Unfortunately, Melas refuses to see that, insisting that Xena enjoys seeing him suffer. He once again vows vengeance, but Xena and Gabrielle just continue on, eventually coming across another village being burned and raided. Xena intervenes, using her chakram to save one of the villagers, but it's caught by the blonde imposter mid-flight. The blonde then taunts Xena, challenging the Warrior Princess to a fight.
Xena accepts the challenge, finding that the blonde is just as good as she is. She claims that it's because Xena "made" her in a village called Cirra, and Xena quickly realizes that the blonde imposter was the one who had shot her with a poisoned dart the week before. Rather than deny it, though, the blonde proudly boasts that it was so she could revive Xena's reputation as a "wanton killer of women and children." Xena replies that she never killed women and children, but the blonde retorts that she has now, before riding off, still in possession of Xena's chakram. Xena then grabs Theodorus, and puts the pinch on him, demanding information. He reveals that the blonde's name is Callisto, and that Callisto's family was killed in Cirra. Further, Callisto apparently wants to demonize Xena before killing her in combat, planning on killing the Oracle at Delphi the next day and blaming Xena for it. Finally, Xena releases the pinch, sending Theodorus back to Callisto with a message: "She's right, I made her. And I'll be the one to destroy her." Just then, Melas approaches, having gotten free in time to realize that Callisto was the one who had killed his son and not Xena. He apologizes, and asks to travel with her so he can help kill Callisto. Relunctantly, Xena agrees, if only to keep Melas from getting killed. Meanwhile, in Callisto's camp, Theodorus returns and informs her that Xena's interrogation went exactly as Callisto had predicted. Just then, Joxer arrives, addressing Callisto as 'Warrior Queen', a title that greatly pleases her. He asks to join her army, and once she and her men are done laughing, Callisto tells him to prove himself by bringing "the irritating little blonde" known as Gabrielle to her, hoping he can at least provide a distraction for Xena. That night, Gabrielle tells Melas to try to get some sleep, but he refuses to rest until he's killed Callisto. Then, Gabrielle joins Xena by the campfire, and they wind up discussing Cirra. Xena explains that it was "just another village to conquer," but then, a fire broke out and quickly spread thanks to a strong wind, making it the only time her army was responsible for the death of women and children. She adds that only a handful of people survived, Callisto obviously among them, and that she doesn't blame Callisto for wanting revenge. Gabrielle, however, does, pointing out that someone has to put an end to the cycle of hatred and vengeance that drives Callisto and Melas. She then makes Xena promise that should anything happen to her, Xena won't turn into a monster. The next day, Xena, Gabrielle, and Melas arrive in Delphi, before splitting up to find Callisto. Joxer tries to take the opportunity to nab Gabrielle, but she beats him easily with her staff and runs off to continue her search. Meanwhile, inside a temple, Xena searches the crowd for Callisto, just as the Oracle makes an appearance. Callisto, in disguise, flings the chakram at the Oracle, much to everyone's horror.
Thankfully, Xena manages to knock the weapon off-course before it can reach the Oracle, causing Callisto to hiss in frustration. Casting off her disguise, Callisto makes a run for it, trying to get away on horseback with Xena in hot pursuit. Eventually, Xena captures Callisto, and goes to take her back to Delphi. Along the way, Xena apologizes for what she did to Callisto's family, but Callisto responds with sarcasm, as well as by spitting on Xena. Just then, Gabrielle approaches to inform them that Melas is forming a lynch mob, but Callisto claims she isn't afraid to die. Suddenly, Xena considers giving Callisto a chance to change, and asks Callisto what she would do if Xena let her go. Callisto honestly answers that she would stop at nothing to destroy Xena's reputation and loved ones, including Argo. Despite Callisto's answer, once they're back at Delphi, Xena refuses to hand Callisto over to Melas's mob, instead dragging her to the town jail to await a fair trial. From her cell, Callisto taunts Xena, pointing out that she's a "painful reminder" of Xena's evil past and that no one would blame Xena for handing her over to the mob. Meanwhile, Gabrielle has another run-in with Joxer. This time, she manages to break his nose, and while tending to it, she asks why he keeps attacking her. He explains that he's trying to make a name for himself, and that he comes from a long line of warlords. Gabrielle, however, informs him that he just doesn't have "that warrior thing," and suggests he should maybe become a fisherman instead. Back at the jail, Melas throws a torch into Callisto's cell, trying to force her out. Much to Callisto's protests, Xena rushes into the cell to save her, only to wind up locked in there for her troubles. Callisto then gets away, easily overpowering Melas and nabbing Gabrielle in the process.
Xena manages to escape through the roof of the jail, and once back on the ground, learns from Melas that Callisto has kidnapped Gabrielle. Melas expresses regret, as Gabrielle had tried to warn him that his hate would hurt others as well, to which Xena replies that people like them should listen to people like Gabrielle. Back at Callisto's camp, while Gabrielle dangles from a rope, Joxer is caught sneaking around. Callisto gives him one last chance to prove himself by demanding he slit Gabrielle's throat, but when he's seemingly unable to kill, Callisto has him chained up as well. When Xena finally arrives, Callisto challenges her to a fight to the death, ordering Theodorus to light one end of Gabrielle's rope just to make things interesting. She and Xena then battle it out on some ladders, and in the process, Callisto reveals that part of her had hoped Xena would win and "put out the rage in [Callisto's] heart" once and for all. Xena then rescues Gabrielle, and flips Callisto onto the burning rope. Theodorus goes to move the flame away from the rope, but Callisto insists he leave it where it is. She eventually falls, but Xena catches her before she can hit the ground, much to Callisto's consternation. Later, after Callisto and her army have been taken into custody, Gabrielle remarks that she's glad Xena saved Callisto, but the Warrior Princess replies that it was just the right thing to do. Callisto, though, quietly begs to differ, an evil grin lighting up her face.
DISCLAIMER: Joxer's nose was not harmed during the production of this motion picture. However, his crossbow was severely damaged.