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Mitch Blaine is a bitter man living in a gold mining boom town in South Dakota Territory. Since the end of the Civil War, Mitch has been a man on the run, running from his past and the heartbreak of betrayal at the hands of a woman he loved. After the war he drifts from his native Virginia to Texas and learns the cowboy way. He learns not only how to rope and ride but how to draw fast and shoot with deadly accuracy. Soon without intending it, he develops a reputation as a gunfighter and finds himself running yet again. To escape those who want to earn a reputation of their own by testing him, Mitch drifts once again to French Creek and stakes a gold mining claim.

Just when things seem to making a turn for the better in his life, the reason for Mitch's bitterness re-enters his life. The woman who betrayed him, Jenna Foley, shows up in French Creek. Mitch is shocked to see her and determined to avoid her. She is accompanied by her banker husband Clark who gets pulled into a swindle foisted by Jack Wilson, the powerful outlaw who runs the lawless town. Mitch gets drawn into the middle when it becomes known that Wilson doesn't just want Clark Foley's money but he also wants his wife.

Mitch and Jenna are forced to meet and Mitch learns to his surprise that she had not betrayed him at all. Yet as a married woman she remains beyond his reach. Ironically it falls to Mitch to foil Wilson's plot and save the life of Clark Foley even though Clark is the one barrier that keeps Mitch and Jenna apart. He is finds himself squarely on the horns of an emotional and ethical dilemma and in the gun sights of Wilson and his gang of hired killers all at the same time.

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