Austin Everett grew to young manhood beneath the hungry tongue of a willow switch and the cruel fists of the one man who should have been his protector… his own father. But when a mysterious night rider killed his father, Austin put aside the misery his life had been to track down the murderer. Also on the trail of a killer, former lawman Alto Martinez was traveling the very same path as Austin, and in the boy he saw a part of himself. Together, with a one-armed, one-eyed Mexican vaquero named Lefty, a beautiful woman in pursuit of a runaway daughter, and hearts full of vengeance, Austin and Alto rode north from Idaho into the gold camps of Montana . . . and a showdown that would change their lives forever . . .