After a narrow escape from the clutches of nasty O. O. Mary, Annyrose ventures forth to find her long-lost brother, Lank, in gold-digging territory. But the journey is rough. Bandits and fiends wait for the traveler around every bend. Soon Annyrose runs into Joaquin Murieta, legendary bandit of the Gold Rush. This seemingly disastrous meeting, however, soon appears to be a blessing for both. They can help each other out: Annyrose can teach Joaquin how to read so that he knows where danger may lie, and in turn he can make sure she's safe and fed. With a little compromise, the two realize how precious friendship is in a time when corruption and greed run wild.