Alex Mentrier is 18 when he leaves the Concho. He knows only that he was born to a Mexican woman in Castroville who claimed that his father was French. He intends to find out.
His first attempt at adulthood placed him with thieves. He has not fully overcome the tendency. A man in the Castro Colony claims Alex is his son and suggests that they drive a herd of unbranded wild cattle to the Kansas market. They lack six essentials: cattle, horses, cowboys, equipment, experience and money.
The Snyder brother, Orville Nubin, Eagle Man and Rancher Jim Dublin want Alex dead. Deputy Slim Shandlin and Judge Isaac Abraham want him in jail.
Fellow orphan Lonzo Gillet and washed-out cowboy Clay Lombard trust him as does Lieutenant John P. Bullis and his Black Seminole scouts from Fort Clark.
Eva Frazier falls in love with Alex.
If two thousand longhorns ever reach Dodge City they will appear as a phantom herd through the encouragement of friends Bob Guthrie and Matt Altmann and the prayers of Margaretha Mentrier.