Retired Texas Ranger Captain Hank Tomlinson intends to spend the rest of his days raising cattle on his Broken Arrow Ranch, and nurturing his frontier town of , . But when the brutal murder and scalping of a mysterious drifter leads to a clash between cavalry soldiers and a band of Comanche Indians suspected of the killing, a full-scale Indian uprising seems likely. Worse yet, the murder of the drifter bears a disturbing resemblance to a string of killings Hank remembers from his distant and violent past as a Texas Ranger.
Meanwhile, Hank's twenty-year-old son, Jay Blue, and his adoptive brother, Skeeter, find themselves on the trail of a valuable mare who vanished under their watch. The trail leads them into the dangerous haunts of outlaws and vengeful Comanche warriors. Now Hank must attempt to keep his sons safe while trying to catch a murderer who he knows will soon strike again. His ace-in-the-hole is beautiful Flora Barlow, the tavern owner with a knack for detective work.
Though rival lawman, Matt Kenyon, and competing rancher, Jack Brennan, complicate Hank's investigation, he and Flora slowly begin to uncover a crooked web of crime, deception, and murder. Dark secrets emerge, and everyone must choose sides as lawmen, outlaws, soldiers, and Indian warriors converge for a final, bloody confrontation.
Country music legend Nelson and novelist Blakely (Come Sundown) collaborate for this predictable western. When a rustler s body turns up on the open range outside Luck, Tex., with ghost arrows embedded in his chest, local rancher and retired Texas Ranger Hank Tomlinson s past returns to haunt him. Years earlier, three Rangers were killed by similar arrows, and many suspected Tomlinson at the time. News of the rustler s murder brings the son of one of the late Rangers, now a state police investigator, to Luck with an eye to avenging his father s death. Staying one step ahead of the law, Tomlinson races to solve the mystery and cheat the hangman. There s a wagonload of subplots (an Indian war, a prized mare s disappearance, an orphan searching out his parents, a barmaid s love story), and while rookie novelist Nelson and veteran Blakely write convincingly of the Old West, the plotting is cumbersome, the characters familiar and the dialogue strained. Nelson s legions of fans probably won t mind, though.