Mr. Box continues to put his series hero, Joe Pickett, through the physical and emotional wringer. He's winding up his game warden stint in Baggs, Wyoming, looking to return to his family in his beloved Saddlestring. But first he needs to track down allegations of mysterious shenanigans in the Sierra Madre mountains: hunters harrassed, game stolen, petty vandalism. He quickly runs into two dangerous brothers with unconventional views on government. As in: they don't think it should apply to them. I sympathize. But things take a violent turn and Joe barely escapes with his life.
Things get more complex when Joe returns to civilization. (That's kind of a spoiler, but come on, you knew they weren't going to kill off Joe.) After a search, the local law enforcement can't find any evidence to support Joe's story. Did he just make it up? Do the brothers have anything to do with the recent disappearance of an Olympic athlete in the same area? What's the story with the FBI's interest in Joe's tale? And what's with the skinny dude who claims to be with the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation, who has a lot of questions? Who proceeds to vanish, and the DCI claims doesn't work for them?
Everybody wants Joe to just wash his hands of the mess and return to Saddlestring. You know that's not going to happen, though.