The Texas Frontier, 1865: The Civil War is over, and Texas is reluctantly yielding to the Union soldiers who are spreading across the state, even into the dangerous Comanche country.
David "Rusty" Shannon, proud member of a "ranging company" that protects settlers from Indian depredations, finds that the rangers are being disbanded. He makes his way home to his land on the Red River, hoping to take up the life of a farmer and the hand of the beloved girl he left behind, Geneva Monohan.
But Geneva has married in Rusty's long absence, and the country has filled with hostiles-not just Indians, but hate-filled Confederates, overbearing Union soldiers, and army renegades. Rusty's youth as a captive of Comanches returns to haunt him when he takes as a prisoner Badger Boy, a white child taken from his murdered parents by a Comanche warrior.
"The Way of the Coyote"
The Civil War has ended and Union soldiers and federal officials have taken control of Texas as Rusty Shannon rides to his home on the Colorado River. As a child he was a captive of the Comanche, as a young man a proud member of a ranging company protecting settlers from Indian raids. Shannon's fate is intertwined with the young man accompanying him: Andy Pickard, himself but recently rescued from Comanche captivity and known by his captors as Badger Boy. Texas is in turmoil, overrun with murderous outlaws, lawmen exacting penalties from suspected former Confederates, night-riders, and the ever-dangerous Comanche bands. In this tempestuous time and place, Rusty tries desperately to resume his pre-war life. His friend Shanty, a freed slave, is burned out of his home by the Ku Klux Klan; his own homestead is confiscated by his special nemesis, the murderous Oldham brothers; and the son of a girl he once loved is kidnapped by Comanches.
Elmer Kelton, most honored of all Western writers, writes of the formative years of the Texas Rangers with the knowledge of a native Texan and the skill of a master story-teller. In Rusty Shannon, tough and smart-necessary survival attributes on the 1860s Texas frontier-Kelton has created one of the most memorable characters in modern western fiction.