Harry Bradford is a lawyer and sometimes detective. Some call him a bounty hunter. With half of his face torn to pieces toward the end of the Civil War, people turn away from him. He fled his native Indiana where people did not wish to hire anyone who reminded them of the war. He hoped to find among the drovers, stock yards, railroads, homesteaders and trouble-making drifters pouring into Abilene, Kansas, during the hey-day of the cattle drives enough work to provide a reason to keep living.
Stella Schoenfeld, raised in the well-to-do merchant class of Indianapolis, tracks her runaway brother, Nathan, to Abilene. She is desperate to settle their father’s estate so she can move forward with her life. In spite of the warrant out for his arrest related to the incident that left her scarred visibly—and in other ways not visible—she comes to bring him home. While Harry guides Stella around Abilene, he realizes they have a connection neither would have guessed.
Driven by revenge, Harry agrees to find her brother but not for the reason she expects, even though he knows it will cost him the only woman he has ever dared to love.