Jud Phoenix, a retired lawyer, takes on a search for Carla Depuy for an old friend in Bullpen, Montana, Eric Chapple, who lives in a nursing home in Bullpen. Chapple is filled with remorse for participating in the rape of Carla 50 years ago, when all were young people. He wants to compensate Carla in the event she is still alive. He thinks she is because he recently has heard a song she wrote years ago as a country western singer on the radio. Phoenix, who has lived in Chicago, Illinois for years and who returns to Montana to flyfish and see his even more elderly mother in Bullpen, reluctantly takes on the quest for Chapple. He finds himself in more trouble than expected, including an assassination attempt on his life and other crimes, a renegade preacher with an old-fashioned madam in a famous brothel a a mother, and other dangers and difficulties. The search for Carla takes an unexpected turn.