Tom Doan joins the buffalo hunters going into the Southwest’s inhospitable Staked Plain. Seeing huge herds there, he thinks of getting rich off their hides. He proves efficient as a skinner, and what follows is almost a literal baptism in sweat and blood. Fighting the Comanches and Kiowas, some unscrupulous white hunters, and his own conscience, he ages fast—all the faster in facing obstacles to love’s consummation with Milly. She, like Tom, is in constant danger from every side. Finally, they can be united in mind and body only if he agrees to her one condition.