The open range men are free-grazing cattlemen, those who don't own land but drive their stock through the country to graze. Boss Spearman knows that times are changing. Local ranchers are staking claims to grazing areas and building up extensive cattle empires. Boss has no quarrel with that, but he won't be intimidated or scared off. So when Denton Baxter makes it clear, by killing one man and seriously wounding another, that he intends to drive Boss and his crew out, Boss must make a stand.
It was dusk when Todd Duncan sighted the man and his camp at a small oasis on the edge of the desert. Duncan, on his way to New Mexico to find work, knew better than to barge into a stranger's camp. After riding in and dismounting, he decided to make coffee before waking the stranger. When he called to the man, there was no response, so he walked over to find the man dead from a gunshot wound. It is then that he finds himself surrounded by Sheriff Matt Berryhill and his posse, their guns drawn.
It was spring on the Llano Estacado, the Staked Plains of Texas, the time for the cattle drives to push north to the rail heads in Kansas. The "Lost Cause" of the South was still fresh in the mind of Southerners, including 55-year-old Ben Albright, a pioneer of the Texas cattle drives, who was well familiar with the trail and its dangers. Northerners have taken over the trading post and ferry and refused provisions or passage to Texas cattle drives. When Albright finds a way around this, tensions reach the breaking point.
Though elderly buffalo hunter Sam Sloan doesn't know it when he sets out on his quest for a spirit vision and a final resting place, something is drawing him towards a fateful meeting - a meeting with his destiny.
The massacre at Fort Mims is what spurred young Davy Crockett to leave his family and become a volunteer scout in the military campaign between American militias and the Creek Indians. It was while serving in this capacity that Crockett earned his reputation as a first-rate scout, which added to his already established reputation as a crack shot. Like many volunteers serving in militias, Crockett also had to concern himself with protecting his wife, his children, and his land.
Ryan Shanley prefers to be called Shan. It's not much, but it helps put some distance between his life during and after serving in the Union army. And he'll put even more distance between the two once he arrives in the Wyoming Territory, where he has a land grant for two square miles. On the stage to Tico, the town nearest his ranch, he meets Sarahlee Gordon. She was only planning to visit Wyoming long enough to sell the cabin she inherited from her uncle. But the attraction between the two becomes obvious on the stage and grows after they arrive.
Kit Butler and Lige Turner are weathered trackers—trappers who once lived among the Dakota people as brothers, learning their language, their land, and their way of life. Now, with the fur trade dwindling, they find themselves guides for a wagon train—a group of emigrants leaving behind the comforts of the world they know for the Wild West. The problem is, they have to pass through hostile Dakota Indian territory to reach their destination.
The Wyoming territory is vast, rich with grasslands, and largely lawless. So when a conflict arises over whose herd gets to graze in those grasslands, then it's more likely to be settled with a shootout than a lawyer. The cattlemen believed their cows ought to have free grazing. It had been a long winter and the herd was hungry. But that means the sheep ranchers would have to move on, at gunpoint if necessary. But the way the sheep ranchers see things, they were there first, and the cowboys ought to be the ones looking for greener pastures.
Everyone in Holbrook had liked Hal Simpson and when his dead body was found inside the ambushed stage, tempers rose to lynching heights. Yet when the killer's body hung limply from a tall cottonwood and it should all have been over, the real trouble had only begun. For Judge Anderson, an upright and respected lawman, had tried to save the prisoner and bring him to a legal trial, and in the gun-torn riot that had followed his denunciation of mob law, someone had shot the Judge.
The small town of Ballester owes its prosperity to the confluence of three big ranches - Snowshoe, Mexican Hat, and Rainbow. Its single lawman, Deputy Sheriff Percy Whittaker, known as Perc, didn't have to deal with much lawbreaking other than the occasional drunk on a Saturday night. Until a drifter named Sam Logan rode into town looking for work.
Five days ago, the blowing up of the express office safe in Burnt Timbers, Montana, had gone off without a hitch for the four members of the Buck Streeter gang, netting them $28,000. Since then they have taken refuge in an abandoned shack on a plateau above the town of Brigham in northern Wyoming. With its bank and express office across the street from each other and lacking any telegraph for communication, Brigham seems like the perfect place to stage their next robbery before laying low for a while.
The trouble began for Sheriff Claude Rainey when the Hightower Ranch cowboys discovered a mummified man and his horse in a desert canyon near Springville, Arizona - both shot in the head. Ordinarily that should have been the end of it. Few men riding the outlaw trail up out of Mexico make it through that godforsaken country. What troubled Rainey and the townsmen, however, was what Hightower foreman Al Trail had brought into town and given to the sheriff.
This Western duo includes stories about undercover rangers trying to expose a gang of livestock rustlers and an experienced gunfighter looking for vengeance in his hometown but instead encountering trouble....