Todd Medford is a gentleman from Virginia and, because of debts and disinheritance, is a willing party to a plot to set up a feudal empire, in the company of Spain, in the unopened Kentucky country. Unknowingly he helps Betty, Clyde Warton's young wife, escape, finds her relatives in Pennsylvania territory, and joins with them in a river trip to Kentucky, in which he loses the boat he has bought and his chance for a fortune. Helped by a hunter, he makes the salt licks, learns to his amazement that he is out of favor for his arrogant greenness and loathsome superiority. With a lowly job in the salt-making, he gambles for greater fortunes, works up a new salt area of his own and is beset by Warton's pursuit which has a sharper edge when Betty goes back to him. After an attack on his new operation, it is because he has won the respect of the colonists that he is able to rout Warton and his hired ""Indian"" raiders and keep a firm hold on the future he is to have with Betty. A new background for a post-Revolutionary tale, this is busy with action, romance, sex and a share of double-crossing.