A disjointed, involved revenge novel of the Southwest. Jim Clinton's wife Nancy is murdered by renegades while he's out trailing them. He remembers two of the murderers dearly during his later years of pursuit. Meanwhile some Confederate troops are trying to infiltrate Texas and New Mexico and Jim becomes an officer with them. They are led by Major Lang Slate, who once seduced flirty Nancy after getting her drunk on champagne--another act Jim wants to avenge. When he and his Indian friend Trappo talk a tribe of Mescaleros into coming for a peaceable parley at Fort Craig, Slate ambushes and slays the tribe. Trappo vows revenge on Slate. While the Confederates race about claiming new friends for the Southern cause, Fort Craig fills with Union soldiers armed with commanding artillery. Slate's raiders make an unsuccessful and bloody attack on the fort, capture a cannon and take it with them in a mad effort to hold the whole Southwest. Trappo never does kill him, and Jim finds that he's been pursuing the wrong men--his wife's real murderers are long dead. A circuitous tale with authentic dialogue, and a persuasive sense of the times.