Luke Calahan, his blood brother Anthony, and Luke's neighbor John O' Riley use the Goodnight-Loving trail to herd their combined stock to the railhead in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The story begins with Luke being chased by a relentless posse from Mule Shoe. Luke had gotten into an altercation with one of the players after, discovering that person was cheating. Luke shot the card cheat in a fair fight, but soon discovered fair play had no hand in his destiny. Luke was chased out of town by the posse, all because the man Luke shot was the corrupt sheriffs son.
After four days of chase, Luke finds himself in a set of canyons where he is able to make his escape with the aid of a stranger shooting from a high ridge. Part of the posse gives up the chase and takes word back to the townspeople about what really happened in the card game. Sheriff Blackie, and his corrupt deputies vow to not stop chasing Luke until they catch him.
After losing the posse Luke finds himself at a burned down cabin near the town of Junction, Colorado. No one seemed to be at the cabin when Luke stopped for the night. Or, that was what he thought, until he went to drink from the well. Trapped inside the well was a small girl. Luke rescues the little white haired child but soon discovers that she is an orphan, and unable to speak.
Luke takes the small child into the town of Junction where he discovers that there is only a few people left, none of them know the child, or are able to take care of her so Luke has to take her with him. He is given a wagon, and sets out for his home in Comanche, Texas with the girl.
Along the way, Luke decides to go to the grave spot of his partner John O' Riley, that died in the cattle drive, and bring his body back to Texas. Unbeknownst to Luke, the posse is still after him. But Luke's blood brother Anthony is trying his best to slow the posse down.
Anthony's Indian name is ‘He who walks in the shadows', and the name fits him quite well because of the fact that very few of his victims even see him before they meet their demise. Anthony is on Luke's trail also, always just a step ahead of Blackie and his men.
While Luke is on his own journey to dig up John O' Riley, some other fellow Texans are making the journey to do the same thing. After O' Riley died in a night time stampede, Johns best friend Henry decided to quit the drive and go back to Texas so he could tell Mary about her fathers death. Henry gathered up two of his closest friends and took off on their own adventure to retrieve the body of John O' Riley. Henry and his friends get into a battle with renegade Comanche Indians, making a name for themselves because of the outcome of the unbalanced battle.
The first half of the story culminates on the Canadian River, where John O' Riley was buried. Luke shows up with the little girl, along with Anthony, the Texas men, accompanied by a small cavalry unit, and Blackie, who had enlisted the help of a sheriff and his deputies from Pueblo. The Pueblo law men knew of Blackies corrupt means and went along with him to try and stop what the vengeful sheriff had planned.
In the middle of the confrontation on the Canadian River, the group of men found themselves in a battle. Not with themselves, but with a Comanche war party, set out for revenge themselves.
After the battle is over Luke takes the little girl, Phoebe, back home to Texas, and his sweetheart Mary O' Riley, who is now the owner of the largest ranch in Texas. Luke and Mary wed, and after combining the O' Riley Ranch with the Calahan Ranch, they decide to name their spread, The O.C. Ranch.
One of Blackie's men, that was thought to be dead, vows revenge on those responsible for leaving him for the buzzards, and his brothers death. This is where the second half of the story begins, with Joe Barnett starting his path of destruction. Joe enlists the help of the Mexican that pulled him from the ravine, tracking the first man, responsible for his brothers death, and kills him. After discovering who Luke is, and where he lives, he travels to Texas, kidnaping Mary Calahan, and leading Luke and Anthony on another chase.
Joe also has a few Texas boys on his trail, but finds out that the fiery red head Mary is a handful on her own. Fate plays a large role in the end results, not the six men, that include the James brothers, tracking Mary's kidnaper.
This report prepared by Boone