When he inherits his parents’ ranch, a notorious former resident of Toussaint comes home to make trouble for Du Pré.... For four generations, the Messmers have raised cattle in the rough country of eastern Montana. When the current owners die in a motor home accident, they leave the ranch to their son - an ominous development for everyone in the area, both human and bovine. Larry Messmer left Toussaint in the 1980s, when he got in trouble for bludgeoning a horse to death, and Gabriel Du Pré hoped he would never come back. Larry announces his return by having his ranch hands kill every weak cow on the property. Unfortunately, they will not be the last to die. The FBI asks Du Pré, a cattle inspector and occasional lawman, to keep an eye on Larry. What he finds is a ranch stricken by criminal greed, and lorded over by a prodigal son who should never have come home.