In 1871, the mother of Charles Crotts dies and subsequently, his Uncle Jacob takes Charles, a small boy, to his Aunt Mary. In the company of his Uncle, he encounters Wild Bill Hickock and John Wesley Hardin. Charles and Jacob are involved in a gunfight, and attacked by Indians as they make their way to Charles’ Aunt Mary. At his Aunt Mary’s, Charles grows into manhood, his life repeatedly intersecting Hardin. Charles goes from a farm on the plains of Kansas to the silver mines of New Mexico to be a shotgun guard. He is a farmer drawn into gambling and gunfights by being in the company of men of disagreeable behavior.