The Civil War is over. Yet, Josh O’Donnell is on the run from the Union army, the very army in which he served so loyally. The young man finds work on a West Texas ranch, where his fellow riders wonder where a boyish-faced youth from Philadelphia learned to ride and shoot so well-and how such an affable young man can instantly turn into a violent, ruthless killer. The great monster of war haunts the cowboy and refuses to release him from the consequences of his past wartime deeds. During a cattle drive, Josh and the rest of the New Jerusalem ranch boys find themselves in Sugar Tap, Texas, where bloodletting takes both friend and foe. Unfortunately, Sugar Tap’s sheriff is not a man of reason, so Josh must go on the run again. This flight takes him to New Mexico and into the loving arms of his first real sweetheart, Angel, and also into the hearts of her strange family. Soon, the visage of the monster follows, and unimaginable carnage takes place. Josh vows retribution. Eventually, Josh reveals his wartime escapades and finally the fateful incident that caused the army to want to hang him. A second confrontation awaits Josh in Sugar Tap. Will he ever be able to hobble the elephant?