Justin Bodean, 15, heads out into the untamed Texas of the mid-1870s with his father to seek a hidden stash of Civil War gold as they travel to see Aunt Sara. They get more adventure than they bargain for when bandits attack their stagecoach. Facing outlaws, renegade Comanche warriors, and landing right in the middle of a cattleman’s feud tests the courage Justin knew would be expected of him out in the west. One travel companion, a writer of dime novels, has come out this way to gather gritty details for his writing. Two others cast in his lot are a cowhand as well as a preacher who wears a gun. They find themselves in a world of Rangers, greedy ranchers, and all-in-all a place where not everything is what it seems . . . except the flying bullets. It’s a far tougher place than Justin has ever been, and Lucas the cowhand tells Justin that he has as much chance of making it out here as a three-legged horse.
He half dozed as he lay there, a patina of sweat forming on his forehead. His wounds throbbed, but they seemed to be scabbing over in their own healing way if he didn’t move. After what seemed hours, he heard approaching sounds. Low hoof clicks tapped the ground, coming his way. At first he thought they were far away, then he realized they weren’t the sounds of a shod horse. A Comanche was coming his way. He stayed as still as he could. Hardly breathed at all. He could see them now, from hoof to pastern, the legs of the paint horse were covered with something. Now, so close he thought he could reach out to them. . .