Harrison Wilke is thoroughly sick of Redbluff, Kansas. The town is a boring dead end, filled with unlettered roughnecks. His uncle Stewart - from whom he stands to inherit the Running W Ranch - can't stand him. Harrison doesn't even have enough money to get to the big city, where he belongs. There are a few bright spots.
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Tenderfoot Harrison Wilke wondered about the three men: heavily armed, avoiding the town, carrying gold coin in their saddlebags. Alert. Surly. Arrogant. Robbers, Harrison concluded; they must have robbed a bank or a train.
Tenderfoot Harrison Wilke leaves Colorado and heads for Nevada. Harrison's oldest and best friend, John J. Trohoe, has died in a mysterious accident, and John J.'s will names Harrison sole inheritor of the estate. The estate is a disputed mine called the Amelia One, which hasn't yet proved profitable. But a group of California investors who claim they hold the title think it might be very profitable indeed.