In 1995, Nate was in a secret Special Forces unit abroad when a colleague did something terrible. Now high up in the government, the man is determined to eliminate anyone who knows about it, and Nate knows exactly how he'll do it – by striking at Nate's friends to draw him out. The entire Pickett family will be a target, and the only way to fight back is outside the law. Nate knows he can do it, but he isn't sure about his straight-arrow friend – and all their lives could depend on it.
Joe Pickett, having recently been fired from his job as a Wyoming game warden, is working on his father-in-law’s ranch when he receives a call. Governor Rulon - a devious but down-home politico - has a special request. Clay McCann, a lawyer who slaughtered four campers in cold blood in a far-off corner of Yellowstone National Park, had immediately turned himself in at the nearest park ranger station - except that the crimes were committed in a thin sliver of land with zero residents and overlapping jurisdiction, the so-called free-fire zone.
When Earl Alden is found dead, dangling from a wind turbine, it's his wife, Missy, who is arrested. Unfortunately for Joe Pickett, Missy is his mother-in-law, a woman he dislikes heartily, and now he doesn't know what to do - especially when the early signs point to her being guilty as sin. But then things happen to make Joe wonder: Is Earl's death what it appears to be? Is Missy being set up?