Cal was caught stealing from a group of free settlers. They planned to lynch him but seeing the injustice of it, Norah, herself just a young girl helped him escape.
"Everyone you see is either predator or prey, wolf or rabbit. Wolf is better."
Cal is Webster van Cleve's newest gun for hire in his efforts to run settlers off their land so he can claim it for himself. Arriving at a run down earthen house with a group of hired guns, he discovers a defeated widow just waiting to die. When he realizes the woman is the girl who saved him many years earlier, he steps in and stops the other hired guns from raping her and forcing her from her land.
Norah has lived the hard life of a farmer, taking the little the land gives and stretching it as far as it will go. When her husband is murdered by Van Cleve there is little she can do but wait to die, and joining the ones she loves is what she wants. When Cal steps in, his help is at first unwanted, but over time she starts to accept and love him.
Together, Cal lends his strength to Norah and Norah gentles Cal but as the range war escalates and a bounty is placed on Cal, the only option left to them is to either abandon the land and run, or fight and become outlaws.
"Put that rifle down, Mrs Hawkins. I don't want to shoot a woman, but I will if I have to."
Her hands stayed steady, and she didn't let the rifle waver. "It's Mrs Sutton. And I don't want to shoot a sheriff, but I will if I have to."
I feel I should say, I don't really know anything about this period of American history, apart from what this book and Wikipedia tells me. If I've made mistakes in using incorrect terms, I'm sorry for that.
Beautiful, Bad Man is a great book. It's completely captivating from start to finish. I really can't fault this book in any way.
"He's a bad one."
"Oh, Mabel, yes he is. He's a very bad man, but he's a beautiful bad man."