Owen Buchanan, along with his brother, Philo, his cousin, Willis, and a neighbor, Lucas, leave farming behind and rush west, enticed by the news of gold in the Black Hills. It’s a long walk with a bull train from Fort Pierre on the Missouri River to Deadwood. Near the end they rescue Dr. Hiram Gruenhagen, his wife Willemina, and their beautiful daughter Josephine from the Sioux.
Owen and his companions join Everett Miller, Lucas’s uncle, on his placer mining claim. Everett is their guide to bold, bustling Deadwood at the height of its wild, giddy, boomtown days in July 1876, when the only law was the pistol a man carried. They meet Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane and others, including the notorious Stark brothers and their outlaw gang.
Owen soon realizes that mining the miners is a faster, easier path to wealth than mining itself. He and Philo quickly establish the primitive Hotel Deadwood and bill it as the cheapest hotel in town.
And, of course, they compete for the affections of alluring Josephine.
But the Buchanans clash with the Starks, which leads to deadly violence. And maybe this story tells the real reason Jack McCall shot Bill Hickok.