Sheriff Luke Atwell, an educated, religious man, cleans up a Kansas town but in a gun battle accidently kills a bystander and begins to doubt his occupation. After a series of shootouts resulting in more deaths, he joins the priesthood, completes seminary and is assigned to an East parish. However, his lawman instincts remain and he confronts thieves and bullies to the dismay of the bishop. Granted temporary dispensation from Holy Orders, Atwell pins on the badge again while rethinking his calling, and arrives back in the Kansas town which has changed in the several years he’s been gone. Outlaws have taken over the area and intimidate the local residents. With three flawed deputies, Atwell removes the threats but only after several incidents involving gunplay. While dealing with criminals, Atwell is also wrestling with feelings toward a pretty widow, and with lawlessness eventually curtailed must decide: keep the badge or return to the priesthood.
In this sequel to The Calling, Sheriff Luke Atwell and his deputies face individual and collective challenges from outlaws, gunfighters, renegade Indians, card sharps, and a thieving medicine show in a Kansas town in the 1870’s. The personal lives of the lawmen also change and nature takes its destructive toll on the town and its residents. When a black neighbor’s family is attacked and the oldest son killed, the sheriff gets the help of federal law enforcement and they chase a band of marauding ex-Confederates out to undo the changes resulting from the Civil War.