The year is 1919. The Great War is over and a million soldiers have been released into a recession-wracked economy that cannot possibly absorb them. Russia has fallen to the communists, and the IWW threatens the same in America. Labor violence rips the nation, shutting down Seattle for five days and mighty US Steel for three months. To defend itself against the Bolshevik threat, the Railroad turns to one of its own. Bribery releases former bookkeeper Edwin McIntyre from the lunatic asylum where he was committed for murder. An obsession with neatness and order leaves McIntyre outwardly harmless. If only he can control the terrible compulsions that make him a walking time bomb, he might lead a normal life. But he is an instrument of corporate terror. Robbery, murder and the Red menace send him to a Colorado hell-town where worse men than he answer only to the law of the gun. There he must come to terms with who and what he has become.