When a commercial aircraft that is landing on the Venus colony gets hijacked, Spike and Faye are on board because they were anticipating that such would occur, in hopes of capturing the hijackers because they have bounties on their heads. However, when a passenger named Roco Bonnaro develops an interest in his Jeet Kune Do skills, Spike decides to give him some pointers. Roco gives Spike a package to hold onto, though Spike later discovers that Roco has a bounty on his head and he decides to go find him.
In the year 2071 humanity has colonized the entire Solar System through the use of 'Phase Difference Space Gates'.
A catastrophic accident occurred during the development of the Gates, damaging both the Earth and the Moon, heavily irradiating the surface, and forcing most of mankind to evacuate to other planets of the Solar System.
Wherever humanity goes, so goes its criminal element, and thus the need for those who hunt criminals. The newly formed solar system police reinstated the bounty scheme of the Wild West. Cowboy Bebop is the story of the four inhabitants of the spaceship Bebop, and the living they barely make at bounty hunting.