Rawhide Smith wasn t looking for trouble when he came upon Mattie Slaughter, a strong willed 12-year-old girl holding a shotgun aimed directly at his head; he was merely looking for a job. Tired and hungry, he finds her resistance to allow him to speak with her father troublesome.
When he discovers the reason for the child s defiance, a deeplyingrained conviction of moral duty takes over. He accepts the responsibility of caring for Mattie until he can find a family to take her in. The task proves more than just looking out for one child s welfare. He runs up against a powerful and corrupt cattle baron bent on driving all small ranchers off their land. In the employ of this greedy varmint are a dozen bloodthirsty gunslingers who are not reluctant to shoot innocent people and burn their homesteads on his command. Rawhide Smith soon finds his determination to right the wrongs becoming increasingly dangerous to his own health, and Mattie s as well.