Bourne was the sheriff of Paradiso, a mining town on Regina. When Malcolm Reynolds, Zoë Alleyne Washburne, and Jayne Cobb rob the train between Hancock and Paradiso, Sheriff Bourne questioned Mal and Zoë, who were pretending to be newlyweds coming to Paradiso to find work in the mines. Bourne realized there was something questionable about their story, but when Inara Serra arrived claiming Mal as her indentured servant, he thought that was the problem. To solve the devastating theft of the important medicine, Bourne requested the assistance of Federal marshals, but his plea was rejected by an Alliance colonel countless miles away in deep space. Later, as Mal was preparing to return the stolen medicine to Paradiso, Bourne and a posse tracked him down. However, he accepted that Mal had done the right thing by bringing the medicine back, and let the crew go free.
Bourne seemed to enjoy smoking small cigars/cigarillos.