The reward is 500,000 pesos for the apprehension of Stephen Darnley, an Englishman, for the intentional kidnapping and unintentional murder of a girl- and it is the smell of money- and the stench of death- which pervades and predominates over this gaunt tale of pursuit across a South American desert wasteland. Darnley is betrayed by Neale, another Englishman whom he had once known, and Neale- along with a local Inspector Carvajal- and four others-form a posse which catches up with Darnley and his young wife in short order. It is the return which is an ordeal of guilt- and regret- for Neale; of unspoken reproach- for the Darnleys; of increasing hunger- and thirst for them all. Greed does not slacken its grip and the knowledge that Darnley whether ""dead or alive"" is equally valuable is an invitation- to kill- and there are other incidents of violence so that it is Neale alone who returns alive- with the now meaningless promise of the reward... This has been compared with Traven's Treasure of the Sierra Madre- and it is spare, sombre and highly effective.