An ancient feud between two frontier families is inflamed when one of the families takes up cattle rustling. In the grip of their relentless code of loyalty, they fight a war in Tonto Basin, desperately, doggedly, neither side seeing the futility of the conflict. Surrounded by this volatile environment, young Jean finds himself hopelessly in love with a girl from whom he is separated by an impassable barrier.
ipped to stay as long as I liked. And this time, without my asking it, different natives of the Tonto came to tell me about the Pleasant Valley War. No two of them agreed on anything concerning it, except that only one of the active participants survived the fighting. Whence comes my title, TO THE LAST MAN. Thus I was swamped in a mass of material out of which I could only flounder to my own conclusion. Some of the stories told me are singularly tempting to a novelist. But, though I believe them myself, I cannot risk their improbability to those who have no idea of the wildness of wild men at a wild time. There really was a terrible and bloody feud, perhaps the most deadly and least known in all the annals of the West. I saw the ground, the cabins, the graves, all so darkly suggestive of what must have happened.
I never learned the truth of the cause of the Pleasant Valley War, or if I did hear it I had no means of recognizing it. All the given causes were plausible and convincing. Strange to stat