When John L. Lewis and the United Mine Workers come to Stanton County, Kentucky, to make their pitch for unionizing, former county deputy Berkley Jordon--who lost his bid to become sheriff in Jordon's Wager (1991)--refuses coal-mining magnate H.R. Buxton's attempt to hire him to prevent an outbreak of violence. But Jordon throws in with old man Buxton anyway after his partner and best friend Willis Dobbs is gunned down by a professional killer--who may just be reloading for bigger game. As Pennyrile Gruber, another player in coal, angles to take gunslinger Moody McCain's place with Moody's eager-to-please companion Pearl, Jordon pokes around antagonizing gamblers, union partisans, and the new sheriff until Moody overreaches himself and fingers his boss too. Not much mystery here--even if you don't figure out who hired Moody, you won't really care--or much period (1934) detail: an earnest, uninspired work.