A Wyoming homesteader finds his newly acquired quarter-section of land the center of unwanted and suspicious attention.
Ben Spoonhammer, the old partner who sold Jim Fontaine his 160 acres, held the title to the parcel free and clear, and there’s no legal reason why Fontaine shouldn’t take possession of the little spread and live there peacefully. But Fred Barrett and George Call, a pair of hands from the much bigger Rocking B ranch, seem all too interested in his doings, both before and after they hire him to work alongside them rounding up stray cattle nobody can find and nobody seems very worried about. So does Gus Aldredge, owner of the Rocking B, who makes no bones about his desire to buy Fontaine’s place even before he’s settled in. The murder of Emma Porthouse, whose sweetheart, Charley Drake, is promptly jailed for the crime, provides more questions than answers. So does the arrival of Emma’s sister, Nora Winterborne, who takes a waitress job while she gets Fontaine to nose further into Emma’s death. The key to the mystery, it seems, is the late Judith Deaver, a working girl who was killed when she attempted to blackmail the man who’d strangled a friend of hers. But where has Judith been buried, and what does her murderer have to fear from her body’s discovery?
Despite the high body count—half the cast will be dead by the last sunset—Nesbitt (Don’t Be a Stranger, 2015, etc.) as usual keeps things relaxed and neighborly, even though Fontaine’s neighbors aren’t the kind you’d want yourself.