Cotton Pickens made it through fifth grade. That and a tin star were good enough to make him the sheriff in the boomtown of Doubtful, Wyoming. And Doubtful's name is no accident. The saying around town is, If you're a lawman, it's doubtful you'll last a day.
Spoiled, brash King Bragg is going to hang for the murder of three men in a barroom. But King's arrogant father--and his beautiful sister--use their powers of persuasion to convince Cotton to look into the shooting. And when Cotton does, he uncovers some disturbing secrets about one Crayfish Ruble, the second biggest rancher in Puma County. Soon, Cotton is surrounded by some people who want to hang King now, some who want to bust him free, and some too busy keeping their stories straight. . . In a town full of fools and sinners, of men bad and downright evil, a gallows is going up and time is running out. And a young, skinny, undereducated lawman named Cotton Pickens is standing up to a savage storm--with only one gun on his side. . .