Overwhelmed by the responsibilities of running a ranch on her own, Laurel Tracey decides to hire a convict - a man who's just scary enough to take care of squatters and just desperate enough to agree to a one year post. The years following the war have been hard on Laurel Tracey. Both her brother and her father died in battle, and her mother passed away shortly after receiving word of their demise. Laurel has been trying to run her two hundred acre ranch as best she can. When she discovers that squatters have settled in her north pasture and have no intention of leaving, Laurel decides to use the last of her money to free a prisoner from the local jail.