Based on the facts in California's history, this is the story of David C. Broderick as seen by Lucky Langmeade, recalled after 3 years into service as agent for the reformed Vigilantes in 1856. Langmeade's mission is to get evidence of Broderick's corrupt and venal practices imported from an eastern Tammany background and he finds his assignment full of heartaches when he falls in love with Broderick's mistress, beautiful, promiscuous Hester Barton. He learns her many wiles, her willingness to stop at nothing to further Broderick's career, aimed at the U. S. Senate, her treachery in trying to win Langmeade to Broderick's party. Langmeade manages to stick to his principles, is thoroughly beat up in tracking down Broderick's election methods, and sees Broderick win. Once in Washington Broderick becomes a voice for abolition and to save California from slave status permits himself to be killed in a duel, so that his martyrdom may influence his adherents. A rough and tumble picture of California politics which gives a graphic, modernly styled, account of the viciousness of the times and the people, and which provides a somewhat lush fictionalization of the facts. PL -- en garde!