The winter around Cheyenne, Wyoming, is devastating, killing both people and livestock. John Henry Cole lives three miles out of town on his small ranch, where he waits out the storm that is quickly killing his cattle and horses. Everything he owns is dying before his eyes, and there isn't anything he can do about it. His dreams of a settled life are as dead as everything else. He knows it's time to move on, and move on he does - but not in the direction he expected.
After his son's death from a bear's mauling and his wife's departure from the ranch, Royce Blood begins to work as a messenger guard on a stageline, but messenger guards are confronted by the outlaw Gypsy Davy, who never leaves witnesses to his crimes.
Too many years of drinking and shooting and killing had done something bad to Ben Moon's soul. Then, one freezing morning in 1882, he found salvation in a sinner named Jane. Once, he’d actually thought about marrying her. Now she is dying and all she wants is to see the child she’d given up at birth. Because he still has his pride and honour, Ben rides out to look for Jane’s little girl. He goes back out among the men with hard eyes and smoking guns who wanted to kill the infamous Ben Moon…and probably will.
As Nate Love placed flowers on his murdered son’s grave, he wondered who it was would shoot that boy in the back and over one damn cow? It was the cruellest of fates, he thought, not to know who did it. There ought to at least be that kind of justice in the world. He knew there wasn’t, though. He would have to find it for himself. But how could he do it alone? That was when he went and wrote a letter to Monroe Hawks – “the meanest son of a bitch that ever lived.”