With her rescuer beside her, Maggie fled deeper into the unknown foothills, pursued by her memories, fears, and two ruthless killers who would stop at nothing to get her. In an isolated valley filled with gold she found a refuge. At the end of a long, hot summer she married the man who had saved her and they moved into a comfortable cabin he built for her. When young Tom Marsh showed up she took him in and suddenly felt complete, even happy. After the loneliness, pain and tears of the past she had a family to love again. Then the killers burst through her door.
The majestic landscapes of Brett Harte's California unite with Larry McMurtry's epic old west realism in an explosion of love, lust, murder and betrayal that comes to a powerful climax along a beautiful stream, home to the largest strike in the mines, where a burning barn ignites the passion of a gold rush boomtown and, in one dark night of revenge, earns that stream the name it bears to this day-HANGTOWN CREEK.