A compact western adventure staged prior to the Civil War during the Eansas/Missouri feuds. Ned Belt sets out to steal back to stolen Jim Bridger--stallion extraordinary--on which Ned's family have placed their money and their hopes (they want to start a breeding farm). Along the way he meets Dave Woods who is trailing the same outlaw band in an effort to recover the sole physical legacy left him by his drifter father--a Hawkins rifle. Dave's father also left him some invaluable survival traits and he leads where Ned sometimes falters. The rigors of minimal existence are as constant as the numbing cold while ned and Dan tread the thin ice of danger. Fast, if slight, adventure.