The depths of the Great Depression are deepened further by dodgy doings at an abandoned mine.
New Mexico, 1932. The desert hamlet of Shakespeare, which depended on the Last Chance Mine to keep it alive, is about to give up the ghost when an unlikely savior rides into town: sleazy promoter Sam Ransom, who’s purchased the Last Chance and is determined to make it pay. Hiring veteran miner Lett Halsy as his foreman, Sam tells everyone who’ll listen that prosperity is just around the corner for Shakespeare, and shows them expertly faked geological reports to prove it. Lett, who inherited the Roxy Jay, a local whorehouse-cum-saloon, is almost afraid to believe that boom times are in the cards. But his boss seems utterly confident, and besides, there’s no other game in town—except of course for the paid caresses of Delight Jones, née Sara Jane Parker. Lett, who’s too gentlemanly to pay for Delight’s favors, stands by steaming while Sam, who isn’t, does. At length, Sam’s pump-and-dump scheme runs into problems, then succeeds beyond his wildest dreams before going into a climactic tailspin.
Hodgson (Season of the Burning Souls, 2006, etc.) has produced a historical mystery with no mystery or suspense (despite the three fatalities, two accidents and the suicide).