The Checker Board, Book Four: Medicine Bow Spirit
Pursued by bounty hunters, in 1883, Dave Smith rides out of New Mexico territory toward Wyoming Territory. He encounters the Cheyenne nation in the person of young ‘Moon Stands in Water’ who was taken from her tribe during a raid. Together they encounter a bounty hunter who nearly succeeds in capturing them. Dave accepts a mission from his Cheyenne friends. While on a train from Laramie to Medicine Bow, Dave helps fend off an attack by renegade Comanche. His actions in stopping a holdup attempt on the train leads to a job offer when he reaches Medicine Bow.
Bound by his promise to the Cheyenne, Dave cannot leave Medicine Bow. The town is controlled by Cassius Harding, owner of the hotel and gambling hall, as well as much of the surrounding land. The locals are restive because of a burdensome water tax levied by Harding. Finding work with Harding, Dave soon recognizes Harding has him trapped, as well as controlled by threats against his girlfriend, Rose Loughery. Forced to do Harding’s bidding, Dave advances the Comanche renegade band’s diversion raids on the outlying settlers and miners in the area. Having been the one to set up these deadly attacks, Dave learns he has been duped by Harding. In a rage, Dave takes apart Harding’s outfit, man by man.
A rousing western full of Indians, outlaws, and powerful individuals cause Dave to lose his freedom. At the end, Medicine Bow is attacked by revengeful Indian renegades who have also learned of Harding’s treachery in dealings with them. Dave is caught in the fight to save the town and his life.