1845 and the dying out of the old trapping and trading system through the growing numbers of ""movers"" and Army protection is the setting for George Stroud's efforts to bring in a last, big fortune of furs, to marry Indian-Welsh Evie Pryce and to learn the whole truth of happenings seven years earlier. For in the big, empty country Jesse Reeshar, his fellow trader, had disappeared, leaving one of their two Crow women cannibalized --and Stroud has to know what happened to his Batchika. Reeshar's reappearance, his spoiling of Stroud's trading with old Shonka, his attempts to locate Stroud's buried furs when they are run off the Indian settlement, spur Stroud into tracking back on old history, into lying to Evie back at Fort Laramie, into defying Reeshar's dominance at Fort Platte and into keeping an eye on Kearny and the U. S. Army when he tries to persuade the gathering of Indians to submit to government orders. Reeshar's villainy, the little facts that grow into a big truth keep Stroud on his man-hunt to a vengeance that is taken out of his hands -- and to a future with Evie that has not been part of his dreaming. The changes that are not peaceable but violent, the Indian-white disturbances which had a finale in years to come, the gaminess of the vanishing mountain men who had more tolerance for the Indians -- these contain a story, brutal, vigorous and sympathetic for the addict of the real, old West.