This book features the return of Nathaniel McBain and Shackleton Frost. Having given Nathaniel the job in The Secret of Devil's Canyon of escorting prisoners to jail, which at the time felt like a job with endless possibilities for plots, I found that it wasn't quite the gold mine of possibilities that I'd first thought it would be. Every story idea I came up with seemed to revolve around the prisoner claiming he's innocent and Nathaniel being concerned enough to ignore his duty and help the prisoner clear his name.
So years have passed since that story without me writing about Nathaniel again until it occurred to me that if you have a man who escorts prisoners to jail, there are two basic plots available. In one the prisoner is a victim of a miscarriage of justice and in the other he's isn't. I decided to try the second one, although, as it turned out, the matter of the prisoner's guilt was only a small part of a bigger mystery....
When Nathaniel McBain and Shackleton Frost arrive in Lone Pine to escort a prisoner to Beaver Ridge jail, they are shocked to discover it is Shackleton's old friend Sheriff Ashton Clarke. Five years ago Ashton tamed the town, but now he's been charged with killing in cold blood.
Ashton claims that someone from his past has framed him, and Shackleton believes his friend. Buts as more bodies are found and with all the evidence pointing to Ashton, the case against him begins to look unbreakable. If Nathaniel and Shackleton are to solve the mystery and save their friend, they will have to turn their backs on their duty and use their trusty sixshooters instead.