"The love being Francine Toutant, daughter of wealthy St. Louis businessman Pierre Toutant. The money (because to acquire Francine's hand in marriage requires much) is one Bill Riley--notorious Dakota Territory outlaw. And thus we find bounty hunter T. J. Ragland riding across the bleak Dakota Territory carrying the head of Bill Riley in a gunny sack, bound for Fort Leavenworth. The three thousand dollar reward will satisfy Pierre Toutant, and Ragland can marry Francine. Ragland's trek brings him to the sorry little town of Bend City, tucked into a wide bend of the Missouri River. He intends to catch a riverboat to Fort Leavenworth, which will shorten his traveling time by a couple weeks, and thereby relieve him of the foul odor emanating from the gunny sack. Regrettably, Missouri River riverboats don't keep to regular schedules, delaying Ragland. Due to some poor decisions, Bill Riley's head is stolen, and the deputy territorial marshal, Bethany Bulger, becomes a roadblock to him recovering old Bill. Bethany is a no-nonsense sort of woman who would like nothing better than for Ragland to leave town. Ragland finds this curious until he discovers that Bethany and some other folks are neck deep in insurance fraud. Throw in a drunken Indian, an undercover Pinkerton's detective, foreign agents, and murder, and Ragland quickly discovers a lot more is happening in Bend City than its sleepy appearance suggests. And, of course, there's more to Bethany Bulger than Ragland had bargained for as well"-- Provided by publisher.