Comparable in its realism and psychological dissection to The Oxbow Incident, this novel of buffalo hunters, Montana, Indians and rugged living traces the conflict between the partners Sandy McKenzie and Charley Gilson as each follows the pattern laid down by memory, personality and development. Thrown together by chance, they add young Indian Jimmy and pegleg Woodfoot to their outfit to slaughter buffalo in virgin land and while Charley's compulsion to shoot and kill deepens, Sandy's doubts as to the right to kill such richness and to take away Indian food intensify so that when he kills the white buffalo be refuses to sell it and thereby crowds Charley to murder. When Charley takes an Indian woman it is Sandy who helps her to run away and , in preventing Charley from following her, is wounded. Recovering with a recluse, he turns to bonepicking dead buffalo, meets up with Charley, again then goes to find the Indian woman among the scattered, sick, homeless tribes. Charley, ridden by his fears, lonesomeness and gun addiction, and with the buffalo gone, becomes a cowboy but sparks to a last flare when he is hired by a museum party, drives off Jimmy, kills Woodfoot and, in pursuit of a bull, meets his own, lonely end. A resolution of destinies against an enduring setting of mountains, plains and valleys, and an encyclopedic sense of buffalo hunting and its bloody, hoggish destruction, this is filled with the rawness of the country, the men and their humor, and with a bitter knowledge of the waste. Loaded, maybe overloaded, but stirring and effective.