After escaping the hangman's noose, Jake is now forced to lie low while every lawman, bounty hunter, and desperado west of the Mississippi guns for his head. When he receives word that miners in South Pass City are getting brutally murdred, he fears for his immigrant friends on the Oregon Trail. Against his better judgement, Paynter travels to the minding fields to bring the culprit to justice. Hiding in an abandoned mine by day and sleuthing by night, Jake begins to unravel the mystery of the deaths, drawing the hushed admiration of frightened families who begin looking to him for salvation. However, he faces more than a mysterious killer. His nemesis, Lucien Ashley, has hired a Pinkerton detective and a cutthroat gang from Philadelphia to capture or kill him. As adversarial forces close in, Jake must decide what he is willing to sacrifice. To run might preserve his life. To stay and fight for his friends might save his soul. For what a man fights for spells the difference between honor and dishonor, between duty and disgrace, between valor and simple violence.