Cowboys, sheepherders, and moonshiners form a volatile mix in 1920s Idaho.
Independent-minded Nellie Burns (Moonshadows, 2015) left her Chicago home hoping to make a living as a photographer in what is still the wide-open West. Planning to take some pictures to sell to the railroad for brochures, she drives with her dog, Moonshine, to the mountains to meet sheep rancher Gwynn Campbell, who’s taking her and Basque sheepherder Alphonso to his sheep camp to replace Domingo, a herder reportedly gone round the bend from loneliness. They arrive to find Domingo long dead, having been badly beaten and with a gunshot wound in his head. With no sheriff in the area, Campbell goes to fetch Nell’s friend, the Basque sheriff known as Azgo, leaving Nell, Moonie, and Alphonso at the camp. Nell and her dog have already had a run-in with a cowboy, or maybe a moonshiner, and his dog. Given the tension between the cowmen, the sheep owners, and the dangerous moonshiners hidden in the hills, it’s hard to know whom to trust. Even lovely Pearl, who works in a saloon, often flirts with men although she’s supposedly married. When Nell is kidnapped, she has to depend on Pearl to help her escape. The pair have some wild adventures while Nell tries to untangle a knotty puzzle and stay alive.
Weston’s second is a rip-roaring yarn that enchants with beguiling descriptions of the beauty of the Idaho wilderness.