Buck Mueller, shanghaied aboard a brig, violently wrenched away from his peaceful life on a Massachusetts farm, unwittingly finds himself at the mercy of a tortuous sea and vengeful captain and crew. After a grueling voyage around the Horn, the brig anchors at Alta California where Buck manages a harrowing escape. Survival forces him to become as familiar with riata and musket and a stallion’s reins as he was with line and sail. His new life is filled with quiet pastures, clear streams, and beautiful Spanish women. A bountiful California cornucopia lures him into false security. And as sure as nothing-is-certain, everything he’s come to love explodes with the flash of blades, rattle of deadly gunfire, and stench of death.