A steady-paced biography of the Texas frontier leader and California builder which gives a detailed account of his exploits. These exploits, though of interest in view of our American past and often in themselves, are presented in the circumscribed area of the immediate and the individual, with little attention to historical perspective or scope. Innumerable battles with Indians, guerillas and Mexicans before and during the Mexican War are recorded, some exciting, some not, but all revealing Hays as a fine leader and militarist -- though he fought quickly to get it over with. Hays' journey to California, his settling in Oakland to become a builder, rancher and capitalist, his posts as Sheriff, brigade inspector of the militia, Surveyor General of California, Democratic Party politician -- are given solid treatment. His personal life and character is reflected through his contemporaries -- but somehow, the mild but magnetic leader is still sitting his horse a few paces out of camp.