Haywood Beatty and his brother Marion have survived the famous Christmas 1883 shootout between the Beatty Boys' Gang and the McDade vigilantes. Both Beattys are jailed in Bastrop where Lily, Marion's very pregnant young wife, waits for the outcome of their trials. Haywood gets sprung, but Marion gets two years' hard labor. And before Haywood leaves the jail, Marion exacts his promise to take care of Lily. Looking after Lily is a burden Haywood didn't bargain for. Only twenty years old himself, destitute and without a respectable upbringing or trade, he keeps trying to "settle" Lily someplace so he can get on with a new life as a cowboy. But it's not so easy to leave Lily behind. For one thing, she keeps coming up with what Haywood needs. A horse. A gun. Some money. Common sense. And once Haywood has saved her from a rapist by murdering him, once he's witnessed her bravery in the face of childbirth and watched her raising her baby girl, Haywood recognizes that he has fallen in love with his brother's wife. Just as she did in her very popular first novel, Lily, Cindy Bonner takes an old story and breathes new life into it by creating characters so convincing and so likable that they take on dimensions that are at once human and heroic. As Haywood struggles to deal honorably with his brother's wife and child, we watch a boy turn into a man. And what a man he turns out to be.