Sandy Stacey, AKA L'il Darlin', flees from a vicious attacker to Convict Lake in the Eastern High Sierras, where she is lost and alone, frightened and desperate, not knowing which way to turn. As if through divine intervention, she meets three rough, tough cowboys, backgrounds unknown. When her attacker follows her from her home in Los Angeles to Convict Lake, she turns to the cowboys for help, but who are they?
She has been raised in an exclusive private school for girls in Los Angeles, secluded with her classmates in a cocoon of a 19th century world behind the tall grey walls of a mansion, being steeped in education, etiquette and social graces. The outside world does not exist for her and the father she longs for also does not seem to exist.
In the Eastern High Sierras, to the cowboys trail dust's thicker than blood; kin is anyone who needs help and L'il Darlin' needs help. She becomes a sister to two of the cowboys and the leader hopes she will become a companion, a comrade he has longed for and never found. Their relationships grow as they live together in the backcountry mountains above Convict Lake, standing strong through violence and struggle, four trusty friends in this earthly life and the one beyond.