A small skirmish between rangemen and sodbusters--in an evocative reworking of the Shane formula. Frank Oliver, formerly of the Dalton Gang (he had his horse shot out from under him by a posse), makes his getaway on foot over the plains and comes upon the Ballinger homestead, which is six miles from the Sam Jackson ranch. At gunpoint Oliver makes himself welcome with the Ballingers--Martin, Adeline, little son Clinton--but, when winter comes, he joins in on the chores, teaches young Clinton how to make a trapline, and is soon caught up in a feud between the Ballingers and the tough guys from the Jackson ranch. Jackson himself shows up with four riders, makes threats, even tries to burn down the barn and cabin--but Oliver and Ballinger fight them off while Clinton rides to Tennyson for the sheriff. And finally, when the sheriff arrives, Oliver escapes on Jackson's gelding . . . so no one ever knows that the notorious outlaw has been doing good deeds in the dark. An old plot, nicely done up with gritty details.