Hen Randolph's reputation as a cold-hearted gunslinger without a need for friends, family or women, was the reason he was hired to be the sheriff of Sycamore Flats, a small Arizona town. They needed someone ruthless enough to protect them from the Blackthornes who have harassed the town and run off the previous sheriffs. When he saves a young widow. Laurel Blackthorne, from a beating, he finds he's made a enemy of the entire clan. When he refuses to let the Blackthornes take Laurel's son, they plan to kill him and warn the townspeople to stay out of the way. Laurel Blackthorne has no need for gunslingers or guns. As far as she's concerned, Hen is no different from her late husband or his family. She wants little more than to prove she was legally married to Carlin Blackthorne and that her son is legitimate. She doesn't want the new sheriff to interfere. But when he does and carefully tends her wounds, she sees the tender man this gunslinger could be. But Hen is a loner who thinks he's empty inside unable to love and certainly not worthy of anyone else's love. She loves him but can't let herself hope for a future with him. As a sheriff, he would always be in danger, and she can't stand the idea of losing him.