In the cañon country of southern Utah, Jane Withersteen, a Mormon-born spinster, has inherited a valuable ranch and spring which is coveted by other Mormons in the community. When Jane refuses to marry one of the Mormon elders and instead befriends Venters, a young Gentile rider, the Mormons begin to persecute her openly. Meanwhile, Lassiter, a notorious gunman, arrives at the Withersteen ranch in search of the grave of his long-lost sister, and stays on as Jane's defender while Venters is on the trail of a gang of rustlers that includes a mysterious Masked Rider.
ended this Mormon Elder by being a friend to that woman."
"Ma'am, is it true--what he says?" asked the rider of Jane, but his quiveringly alert eyes never left the little knot of quiet men.
"True? Yes, perfectly true," she answered.
"Well, young man, it seems to me that bein' a friend to such a woman would be what you wouldn't want to help an' couldn't help....What's to be done to you for it?"
"They intend to whip me. You know what that means--in Utah!"
"I reckon," replied the rider, slowly.
With his gray glance cold on the Mormons, with the restive bit-champing of the horses, with Jane failing to repress her mounting agitations, with Venters standing pale and still, the tension of the moment tightened. Tull broke the spell with a laugh, a laugh without mirth, a laugh that was only a sound betraying fear.
"Come on, men!" he called.
Jane Withersteen turned again to the rider.
"Stranger, can you do nothing to save Venters?"
"Ma'am, you ask me
Apart from being prototypical for the western genre, and a typical Grey with all the love for marriage, nature, and country, you get glimpses into a hidden chapter of the history of the US, namely the mormons in Utah, and the bad ones at that. Which might well surprise the average European.
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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