In his first novel since 1945, the author of Oxbow Incident again recreates a mounting drama of high tension in mental as well as physical domains where emotional geography is carefully explored. Here is a hunt -- for the vicious, terrifying black ""painter"", prophesied by Indian Joe Sam to be the weapon for exterminating the white ranchers. A dream of Arthur's, the 40 year old son of the Bridges, presages the imminent threat; in a snow storm the cattle announce they are being attacked. Curt, his sneering, unbelieving 37 year old brother, insists on hunting the beast and takes Arthur with him. At home they leave 19 year old Harold, whose girl Gwen is visiting them, their sister Grace, ready to break under the stresses of the household, their father and mother, long embattled over the husband's failures and life of retrospect -- these must live through the pressure of the storm, the absence of the two men. Arthur and Curt find evidence of the mammoth painter, who kills Arthur and whose tracking down drives Curt madly to his death. When those at home learn of the double tragedy, it is Harold who finishes the job. Rates ""excellent"" in western fiction, in the slow and steady building up of character and emotional atmosphere.