President Hayes sent a message to U. S. Marshal M D (Shorty) Thompson at old Fort Tularosa, New Mexico Territory. He was to investigate why so many mine owners are turning up dead.  Also while he was there, find out why ore samples do not match the ore quality when it gets to U. S. Government Mints in Nevada and California.  During his investigation, while riding down Burns Gulch, Shorty is shot in the head and is in a coma for well over a month.  When he comes to, he has no memory of who he is or why he is there.

   A black cavalry unit (Buffalo Soldiers) blows the front off the Iron Lady saloon just to give Shorty a hand.  The only banker in Kelly is found in front of his open safe with the side of his head blown off.  All the town’s money, gold and silver is scattered over his body in plain sight.  A note pinned to the banker’s shirtfront tells a tale of greed and murder, while a half-honest town drunk takes all that is his and heads for Mexico.  He’s paid in full.

   Dunhill is found on a riverbank, staked spread-eagle and naked.  He lay scalped with his eyelids cut off and small strips of skin yanked from his shoulder blades to his ankles.  He had simply been skinned alive.  Dunhill’s loot of gold, silver, paper money and mine deeds were scattered about like a wild woman shit in the woods.  It was here, there and everywhere.

   Now Shorty has to get home so he can help Buffalo find the men that raided their ranch and killed Kathleen, Buffalo’s wife. This leads him all the way to San Francisco.