The vibrant, vast prairie wind never stops blowing through Montana's Two River Valley in this energy-crisis epic about the cattlemen facing the strip-miners--a modern Western from the author of Six Days of the Condor. The villains here are Syndicated Coal and their phenomenal finagler Robert Hanst, a money-dispensing sharpie from the East who's out to buy up all that coal-rich ranchland in the Two River Valley. Indeed, Hanst soon has the mayor, the newspaper editor, and the valley's leading lawyer on his payroll, and one by one the valley's big landowners give in to real-estate wheeling and dealing. All, that is, except the Ross brothers--Curt, Pete, and Dean--who own the pivotal central spread. Curt calls a meeting together of the valley ranchers, stirring them up to resist the coal syndicate's assault. And they even hire a Nader's Raiders type from Philadelphia to represent them--beautiful Lee Driscoll, whom upright Curt falls for, to his great distress (he's married, with two beloved kids). Meanwhile, non-ranching townsfolk are hoping to make a killing off the strip-mining and form their own lobby. Curt's Two River Valley Protection Association seems to be winning the fight when the real skulduggery begins: brother Dean is lured away from the resistance group; and Syndicated Coal conspires with the local railroad company to devastate the land with a combination of strip-mining and railroad-tracking, thus upsetting the valley's water table enough to sabotage the growth of cattle-feed crops. So total disaster faces the ranchers at novel's end. . . with Curt, the last cowboy, still staring the bad guys down eyeball to eyeball. An appealingly straightforward good guys-vs.-bad buys scenario, enhanced by the Montana scenery and the colorful cast: solid entertainment start to finish.