When a prominent University of Wyoming professor goes missing, authorities are stumped. That is, until Game Warden Joe Pickett makes two surprising discoveries in his district.
First, Joe finds the professor's vehicle parked on a remote mountainside. Then he finds the professor's frozen and mutilated body. When he attempts to learn more, Joe's investigation is obstructed by Federal agents, extreme environmentalists, and Governor Colter Allen.
Meanwhile, Joe's associate, falconer Nate Romanowski, is approached by a shadowy group of local militant activists who are gaining in power and influence, and demanding that Wyoming join other western states in seceding from the Union by force, if necessary. They ask Nate to throw in his lot with them, but should he trust them, or is he being set up? As a storm of peril gathers around them, Joe and Nate confront it in different ways and maybe, for the first time, on opposite sides.