Kirby Frye, the deputy sheriff in charge of Randado, becomes an opponent of the leading citizens of the town when he vows to bring cattleman Phil Sundeen to justice. Sundeen, the most powerful and richest businessman in the community, is behind the lynching of two Mexicans who stole a few of his cattle.
The Citizens' Committee, which consists of the merchants and other "leading citizens" has illegally elected a judge and prosecutor from among themselves and convicted the Mexicans. Kirby is having none of it - he sees their action as a lynching, and Sundeen as the main culprit.
Frye consults with the territory sheriff, who tells him he must serve warrants on the lynch mob. They will then be taken in for trial. Meanwhile, Sundeen has added professional gunfighter Clay Jordan to his team, which already consists of his tough ranch staff. However, the team has been reduced because Sundeen cheated his trail crew out of their wages from the last cattle drive.
With the sheriff and an Indian tracker working with him, Frye must track down the members of the citizens' committee and Sundeen and serve the warrants. He must also defeat the gunfighter, Jordan.
Elmore Leonard is best known for his crime stories in contemporary settings. However, he began his career as a writer of westerns, and he handles the Wild west as well as he does the modern urban scene.
This report prepared by David Gordon