Joshua McBride and his side-kick Captain Luther Chambers, his old mentor, head for Tucson, a little town in the Territory of New Mexico, newly acquired by the United States. Many call this additional landmass "the bowels of hell" due to the parched land, murderous Apache Indians and the harsh living conditions bereft of Anglo civilization.
Each has his motives for taking a considerable risk. Joshua seeks his fortune; Chambers wishes to relive his past. A new land, new multicultural relationships, and new obstacles provide for events that make lasting impressions on their lives and the lives of their progeny. Cultural bias, once again, raises its ugly head.
This story, a sequel to the first novel, Equal and Alike, in the McBride series, reveals the next progression in the lives of Joshua McBride and Luther Chambers. The Captain is anxious to show Joshua the Sonora Desert where he roamed decades before, as a young man.
Luther is very aware of the dangers and hardships they will endure. He has no misconceptions as to the harsh life they will experience. On the other hand, his young protege fantasizes about making his fortune in this isolated corner of the country. Luther, purposely, provides Joshua with little detail concerning what they will encounter.
Colonel Terrance Lindsey, a well positioned operative in Washington, DC, is reintroduced in this story. He prods them to relocate to the new United States possession. He believes, if a Civil War is averted, Tucson and its environs will experience great commercial success. Lindsey has profound influence over the two pilgrims.
The culture existent in this part of the country is significantly different from what Joshua ever experience. At first, the people and their lifestyle repulse him. He struggles to understand. Events occur that cause him to reevaluate his previous impressions regarding those who surround him.
The joys, as well as the heartaches experienced by Joshua McBride in the nineteenth century, are not so dissimilar from those we undergo today. Some things transcend time.