Chapter 1: The Wrecking Boss
After a train runs off track in Smoky Creek, Murray Sinclair, the wrecking boss, arrives to clean up the mess. At the wreck, he finds an injured tramp cowboy named Wickwire, and forbids his crew to help him get water, essentially leaving him for dead. Stevens, the train’s conductor, comes to speak with Sinclair about the wreck, which Sinclair laughs off. He offers Stevens some cigars and brandy looted from the train wreck, which Stevens declines. When Stevens sees the tramp, he meekly appeals to Sinclair to give him some water, which is also declined.
Chapter 2: At Smoky Creek
Superintendent George McCloud arrives at the scene and discovers Sinclair’s intent to loot alcohol from the wreckage. After calling Sinclair out for the looting, Sinclair and McCloud start fighting. The fight escalates, and Sinclair rouses his men to strike with him against McCloud. McCloud responds by firing everyone who will not go back to work, much to Sinclair’s disbelief. Sinclair storms off with his men, heading back to his ranch for drinks and food. Left alone, McCloud burns down the train wreck to help speed up the cleaning.
Chapter 3: Dicksie
Seeing the smoke from the fire, Dicksie Dunning rides to the wreck to investigate and offer help. McCloud, stunned by her beauty, informs her of the train wreckage and convinces her to stay longer while her horse gets some water. While chatting, Dicksie and McCloud discover Wickwire and send him to Barnhardt, the railway surgeon, back in Medicine Bend.
Chapter 4: George McCloud
A flashback reveals that McCloud studied engineering at Boston University with Morris Blood, who works with the railroad company. McCloud came west and worked in the mines for three years after failing to land a job at the railroads. One night, while battling Mountain fever, he saves an Italian miner from a drunken mob trying to catch and kill him. After President Bucks learns of McCloud’s heroic deed from Whispering Smith, he takes McCloud to a hospital before offering him a job. Once healed, McCloud moves to Medicine Bend and rents a room with Marion Sinclair to work on the railroad as superintendent.
Chapter Five: The Crawling Stone
The Crawling Stone is a large piece of land connected to the mountains outside of Medicine Bend. Dicksie’s father, Richard Dunning, purchased the land to herd cattle and build bridges with his nephew, Lance Dunning, and Murray Sinclair. Richard brought out his cousin Betty Dunning, whom he fell in love with, and they had one child, Dicksie. Betty passed away shortly after Dicksie’s birth, and Richard passed soon after Betty, leaving Dicksie in the hands of her cousin Lance and her mother’s nanny Puss. Dicksie went away for schooling and returned to Crawling Stone, as owner, at the age of nineteen.
Chapter Six: The Final Appeal
Sinclair valiantly appeals his firing, with the whole town of Medicine Bend rallying behind him. After some time, Sinclair met with senior railroad men Glover, Morris Blood, and Callahan, who informed him that he could not have his job back. After hearing the news, Sinclair broke down in tears before launching an attack on the company and requesting a word with McCloud. Farrell Kennedy came and consoled Sinclair, while escorting him out of the building.
Chapter Seven: In Marion’s Shop
Marion Sinclair is introduced as the separated wife of Murray Sinclair and best friend to Dicksie. She owns a milliner shop, where McCloud rents a room. One night while McCloud is dining, Sinclair drops by the shop to pick up a package for Dicksie. While Marion is preparing the package, Sinclair threatens McCloud, telling him to leave the town, claiming the two cannot both live there.
Chapter Eight: Smoky Creek Bridge
McCloud goes back to work at the Wickiup still thinking about Sinclair’s threat. During his watch, he learns from his assistant, Rooney Lee, that the Smoky Creek Bridge caught fire. Upon notification, railroad President Bucks confers with his consultant Whispering Smith, who believes Sinclair is to blame for the fire.
Chapter Nine: The Misunderstanding
The bridge fire devastated the railroad, causing a backup of trains in the county. One of the freights caught in the mix-up of the fire is Lance Dunning’s shipment of cattle, which was unloaded at another station, much to his dismay. Angrily he travels to Medicine Bend and blames McCloud for mishandling his cattle and the bridge burning. Later on, when McCloud is finally able to catch some sleep, he overhears Dicksie Dunning accusing him of the same crimes as her cousin.
Chapter Ten: Sweeping Orders
Soon after the bridge fire, another wreck occurs, where the quarry switch was thrown, causing the train to jump track and fall into a canyon. Ten days later, there was a train robbery at Sugar Buttes; two men flagged down the train, then boarded with pistols and blew open a safe. Upon hearing the news of these events, Bucks sends McCloud notice that Whispering Smith is on his way.
Chapter Eleven: At the Three Horses
McCloud and a stranger are talking in McCloud’s office when Bill Dancing arrives to offer a truce between McCloud and Sinclair. Unbeknownst to Dancing, the stranger in McCloud’s office is Whispering Smith, who offers enthusiastic support of Dancing’s idea. Afterwards, Dancing meets Sinclair and his albino partner, Harvey Du Sang, at the Three Horses to inform him of the deal. After hearing the full story, Sinclair immediately recognizes the stranger as Whispering Smith.
Chapter Twelve: Parley
It is revealed that these events took place over a two-year period, and during one Thanksgiving everyone came together to celebrate at the Dunning Ranch. Sinclair and his gang enter the shooting and racing contests, and win most of them. This also marks the occasion where Du Sang and Whispering Smith meet for the first time. They did not meet again until Whispering Smith went to the Three Horses to offer Sinclair a truce, which was quickly rejected.
Chapter Thirteen: The Turn in the Storm
Bucks and Glover order the railroad construction to continue during the wintertime when building usually stops, much to the chagrin of the town and workers. A winter storm traps McCloud and his men on Christmas day, forcing him to execute a tricky maneuver to escape death for all, and earning the respect of the men and town.
Chapter Fourteen: The Quarrel
The railroad company had rights of passage in Crawling Stone near the Dunning Ranch, and McCloud was responsible for settling matters with Lance Dunning over the land surveys. Lance Dunning called McCloud over to the ranch to dispute the passage after deciding to build a new irrigation system in the same location the railroad would travel though. The two get into a heated argument before Dicksie intervenes, ending the argument.
Chapter Fifteen: The Shot in the Pass
After the fight, Dicksie rides out to meet McCloud as he leaves the ranch. When the two meet, she warns him about enemies in town who are after him. McCloud convinces her to let him ride her back to her home, and the two talk all the way back to her property. On McCloud’s ride back to Medicine Bend, a rifle shot fires into his hat, sending him home in a frenzy.
Chapter Sixteen: At the Wickiup
When Whispering Smith rides back into town, McCloud tells him of his encounter with the rifle shooter. Whispering Smith, well aware of the encounter, informs McCloud that it was Du Sang who fired at him. While McCloud and Whispering Smith are talking, Farrell Kennedy arrives, and the three make plans to track Du Sang down.
Chapter Seventeen: A Test
Whispering Smith, McCloud, and Kennedy track Du Sang down to a dive bar on the outskirts of town. When Du Sang enters, they make plans about how best to take on Du Sang in the bar. Once inside, Whispering Smith goes up to Du Sang and interrupts his craps game, while Kennedy and McCloud sit on the side and watch. Once Whispering Smith gets Du Sang’s attention, and fear, he tells him to leave town or else he will tie him up and drag through it. The three leave, pleased with themselves, and Whispering Smith warns McCloud to hide the hat Du Sang hit, so Du Sang won’t know how close he got to killing him.
Chapter Eighteen: New Plans
Callahan visits McCloud and informs him that Lance Dunning got an injunction against the railroad company, terminating all work on Crawling Stone territory for the next year. McCloud is upset over the news, but has no choice to focus on smoothing out the railroad line for the next year, while seeing Dicksie intermittingly at Marion’s. Meanwhile, winter ends and skips straight to summer, causing massive flooding in the mountains.
Chapter Nineteen: The Crawling Stone Rise
The great floods threatened the Crawling Stone Ranch by washing away the alfalfa crops and stretching up to the doors of the ranch house itself. Dunning, with the help of Sinclair, desperately tried to prevent the flood’s spread with no luck. Dicksie seeks out the help and guidance of Marion, and learns that both McCloud and Whispering Smith are better men than she thought. With some helpful prodding from Marion, Dicksie decides to call McCloud for help.
Chapter Twenty: At the Dike
McCloud had been holed up at the railroad campsites with two hundred and fifty men, trying to prevent any flood damage to the railroad. Later on that night, Bill Dancing is telling the boys around a campfire the story about how he met McCloud for the first time, when Dicksie and Marion arrive at the campsite. While the three consult at the campfire, Whispering Smith joins them, marking the first occasion Whispering Smith and Dicksie formally meet. McCloud generously offers one hundred men to help at the ranch, and the four sit down to dinner.
Chapter Twenty-One: Supper in Camp
During dinner, Dicksie is unable to eat because of how worried she is over the trouble with the flood. In order to console her, Whispering Smith sings a song he wrote about trouble, much to her delight. Happy and full, McCloud must return to work, while the three stay behind and rest for a big day tomorrow.
Chapter Twenty-Two: A Talk with Whispering Smith
After Marion falls asleep, Dicksie goes outside and finds Whispering Smith sitting next to the campfire. She joins him, and the two talk about Whispering Smith’s life. He tells her he used to be a cowboy, and he got his start in the real estate business before Bucks hired him on at the railroad. Come morning, Marion, Dicksie, Whispering Smith, and McCloud leave with one hundred men and enough supplies to save Crawling Stone Ranch from the flood.
Chapter Twenty-Three: At the River
When they get to the ranch, McCloud, Whispering Smith, and Dancing approached Lance Dunning to offer some assistance. Dunning, surprised by their offer, accepts gracefully. While McCloud gets to work with Dunning, Whispering Smith heads to the house to check on Dicksie and Marion. Dicksie asks Whispering Smith to check on a hen that won’t lay any eggs, and he finds out the hen is a rooster.
Chapter Twenty-Four: Between Girlhood and Womanhood
McCloud takes a break from the flood and freshens up at the ranch house. Dicksie has Puss make them dinner, and she accidentally cooks Dicksie’s favorite rooster Caesar. When Marion arrives for dinner, McCloud is summoned back down to the river. Dicksie and McCloud travel to the river, where they met with Dunning and Whispering Smith. McCloud and Dunning leave to check on the river, leaving Whispering Smith and Dicksie alone. He tells her all about Sinclair and his gang robbing trains and blowing up bridges. He makes her promise to protect Marion from Sinclair’s advances just before McCloud and Dunning ride back to join them.
Chapter Twenty-Five: The Man on the Frenchman
Sinclair’s property, which rests in the area known as Frenchmen, is located between the Crawling Stone and Williams Cache. This is where Marion and Dicksie found themselves traveling after Sinclair requested Marion over to talk. After her conversation with Whispering Smith, Dicksie feels uneasy in Sinclair’s presence. While Dicksie plays the piano, Sinclair takes Marion outside and tells her that he is leaving for California. He asks her to come with him, which she refuses. He blames her decision on Whispering Smith, claiming that she loves him. In frustration he threatens to kill her, which doesn’t dent her refusal, while Dicksie anxiously awaits the conclusion of their conference.
Chapter Twenty-Six: Tower W
Everyone returns to Medicine Bend, taking in dinner and rest in their respective beds. Late at night, Whispering Smith is in his barren room when McCloud and Kennedy arrive at his door. They inform him of a train robbery at the Tower W stop, which resulted in one death, one injury, and an empty safe. Whispering Smith immediately hatches a plan to try and catch the robbers, requiring horses, men, and a train car. The three of them hurry off to the railroad yard to catch a train that will take them to the robbery site.
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Pursuit
Once at the crime scene, Whispering Smith and the men take off on horse to follow the robbers’ horse tracks. They rode out for twenty miles before the tracks got lost among a mix of a hundred different horse tracks. Whispering Smith discovers a horse rancher, Rockstro, with an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and who admits to covering up the tracks with his horses. Whispering Smith lets the man go and breaks up his crew in the hunt for the train robbers.
Chapter Twenty-Eight: The Sunday Murder
Of the original five robbers, one split off, while the four remaining, led by Du Sang, attempt to enter Williams Cache before spotting Sheriff Ed Banks and five other men blocking the passages they need to get into Williams Cache. Du Sang and his men ride out to Baggs’s Crossing, where Dan Baggs lives with his ten-year-old son Dannie. Baggs, already made aware of the danger headed his way, was on the lookout when Du Sang arrived. Du Sang lies about their identities, before Baggs can identify Du Sang’s man, Karg. Then, Du Sang shoots Baggs before stealing a horse and riding off. Banks arrives to find Baggs dead, survived by his now-orphaned ten-year-old son. When Whispering Smith arrives, he takes Dannie under his wing for the night to console him for the loss of his father.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Williams Cache
Whispering Smith tracks Du Sang to Williams Cache, named after a notorious bad man named Williams who used the Cache as his hide out. The Cache is now under the control of John Rebstock, whose nephew, Barney, is part of Du Sang’s gang. Whispering Smith meets with Rebstock to convince him to give up Du Sang, who is currently hiding in the Cache, threatening Rebstock with a roundup if he doesn’t obey. However, after a long fight, and Rebstock’s determination not to give up Du Sang, Whispering Smith leaves to begin collecting cowboys for the roundup at Williams Cache.
Chapter Thirty: The Fight in the Cache
Whispering Smith and his men split up to rid Williams Cache of Du Sang and his men. They rounded up all the cattle, informing the men that if they could prove proper ownership they could collect them at the door. In the afternoon, Whispering Smith, Stormy Gorman, Bill Dancing, and two other cowboys faced Du Sang, Karg, and Seagrue. After a quick exchange of words, Du Sang takes the first shot, with Whispering Smith matching him in quickness. Bill Dancing takes a hit and falls to the ground, and Gorman and the other cowboys flee, leaving Whispering Smith to face the three outlaws on his own. In a daring maneuver, Whispering Smith falls from his horse with rifle in hand and shoots Du Sang and Karg, but Seagrue rides away and Smith has to go after him.
Chapter Thirty-One: The Death of Du Sang
After the shootout, Whispering Smith walks over to the motionless body of Bill Dancing sprawled out on the ground. After hearing some commotion, he walks over to find Stormy Gorman and his men attempting to hang Karg and Seagrue for cattle thieving. Whispering Smith fights Stormy off the two men and finds a badly injured Du Sang lying on the ground. Whispering Smith gets him some water and sets him up in Rebstock’s barn. Later on in the evening, Du Sang cries out “Whispering Smith” right before dying, but Smith was away comforting Bill Dancing.
Chapter Thirty-Two: McCloud and Dicksie
McCloud restlessly awaits news about Whispering Smith’s condition after the shootout, when Dicksie rides into town upon hearing a rumor that Smith was shot dead. While McCloud comforts the grieving Dicksie, they get a wire from Smith himself informing them of Du Sang and Bill Dancing’s injuries. The two retreat to Marion’s where they lunch in celebration of the good news. When Dicksie tries to leave for home, McCloud refuses to let her travel alone, so she decides to stay the night with Marion.
Chapter Thirty-Three: The Laugh of a Woman
Marion, Dicksie, and McCloud decide to cook dinner when Whispering Smith arrives unannounced. During dinner, Whispering Smith rehashes the events of the past two days. After dinner, Dicksie and McCloud talk on the front porch, and Smith, listening to their muffled voices from indoors, along with Marion, tricks the two into admitting they are engaged.
Chapter Thirty-Four: A Midnight Visit
After the festivities ended at Marion’s, Whispering Smith and McCloud go home while Marion locks the place up. As she heads for her bedroom, she gets a knock at her door. When she opens it, she finds Sinclair, who tries again to talk her into moving with him to California. When she declines, he offers her a gun to kill him, and when she refuses, he leaves by telling her he will stand his ground in a fight against Whispering Smith.
Chapter Thirty-Five: The Call
Two very quiet days pass in Medicine Bend before President Bucks arrives in town. While Bucks confers with Whispering Smith and McCloud, a messenger arrives informing the three that Sinclair shot Sheriff Ed Banks and Wickwire while they were looking for him at his ranch. With the sheriff shot, Whispering Smith must now serve Sinclair with the warrant for his arrest.
Chapter Thirty-Six: Duty
A distraught Marion blames herself for Sinclair’s actions. McCloud calls to let her know he is going west by train, until he hears that Dicksie is riding into town and decides to stay and spend time with her. The three eat dinner, and then Dicksie and McCloud leave for a walk, leaving Marion alone. Whispering Smith arrives at her door to ask her whether or not he should try and take Sinclair’s life or allow Sinclair to shoot him if the two face each other with guns. Marion can’t answer his question, but tells him that she couldn’t bear having him face his death. Whispering Smith, understanding Marion’s torment and response, leaves Marion with a simple good-bye, apologizing for any actions he must take on his part, right before Dicksie and McCloud come back.
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Wickwire
Marion retreats to her room still reeling from her conversation with Whispering Smith after Dicksie and McCloud return from their walk. McCloud informs Whispering Smith that a man from Oroville is on his way to meet him, and Whispering Smith immediately knows it is Wickwire, the tramp from chapter one that Dicksie and McCloud saved. When Wickwire arrives, he informs Whispering Smith that Barney and Sinclair busted Seagrue out of the Oroville sheriff’s custody, and then met up with a group of Williams Cache men to celebrate. Whispering Smith, undisturbed by the events, says his good-byes as he prepares to ride north in search of Sinclair. After Wickwire thanks McCloud and Dicksie again for their generosity, he catches up to Whispering Smith in the street and asks to go with him. Whispering Smith relents, and the two part ways.
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Into the North
After departing from Wickwire, Whispering Smith walks to his room to prepare for his ride. He is deep in thought about the possible outcomes of his fight with Sinclair, and how that could affect his relationship with Marion, the love of his live. McCloud and Bob Scott ride up, and go to his room to meet with him before he leaves. While Whispering Smith picks out his favorite rifle, he tells McCloud about his more than twenty-year relationship with Sinclair. He tells McCloud about the time when they were boys, and how everyone looked up to Sinclair, including Smith, when Bob interrupts them. The two exchange words, and Whispering Smith tells him to use Wickwire as defense. With a last good-bye, Whispering Smith silently heads north.
Chapter Thirty-Nine: Among the Coyotes
Whispering Smith rides out to Bob and Gene Johnson’s house, to ask Bob to ride to Oroville to scope out the whereabouts of Sinclair. Once Bob reports back, Whispering Smith rides out to serve Sinclair the papers. Once in town, three men from Williams Cache apprehend him. Whispering Smith, caught behind the barrels of three guns, sneakily grabs his gun, and apprehends Fatty Filber for cattle stealing. While waiting for Bob and Gene to ride into Oroville, Whispering Smith misses his opportunity to catch Sinclair. He dines in the town’s diner, to scare off the rest of the Williams Cache gang, and hears from John Rebstock that Sinclair left to seek out the money from the Tower W train robbery.
Chapter Forty: A Sympathetic Ear
Sinclair rides back to Crawling Stone Ranch to speak with Lance Dunning, while a big rainstorm brews overhead. Dicksie, who rode back to the ranch after spending time with McCloud and Marion down in Medicine Bend, overhears Sinclair and Lance talking. Sinclair tells Lance he’s going back into town to have a last stand with Whispering Smith and to take Marion away with him. Dicksie waits until the two depart to try to telephone Medicine Bend on the phone during the stormy night.
Chapter Forty-One: Dicksie’s Ride
Dicksie desperately tries to reach Medicine Bend, but the telephone wires are dead because of the storm. When Lance returns to the house after seeing Sinclair off, he runs into an irate Dicksie telephoning Medicine Bend with no luck. The two get into an argument because Dicksie yells at Lance for allowing Sinclair to leave and possibly murder Marion and McCloud. Lance forbids Dicksie to ride out to Medicine Bend to no avail, as Dicksie prepares for her dangerous ride. The rain turns to sleet, then snow, as Dicksie rides into town, passing someone else in the rain. By the ride’s end she is barely conscious and passes out at Marion’s door.
Chapter Forty-Two: At the Door
Unconscious, Dicksie wakes up in Marion’s house with Barnhardt, the railway surgeon, by her side. She comes to and tells him and Marion of Sinclair’s intentions. When she finishes her story, someone knocks on the door and Barnhardt opens it to reveal Sinclair himself. Sinclair asks for Marion, but Barnhardt will not allow him access to her, and tells him to take advantage of the storm and leave the town for good. Sinclair does leave, but not before breaking into McCloud’s office, to find him gone away for work. Later on, Whispering Smith comes to Marion’s door, much to Dicksie’s happiness.
Chapter Forty-Three: Closing In
Whispering Smith, Kennedy, Bob Scott, and Wickwire travel throughout the mountains following the trails they believe to belong to Sinclair and two of his men. After travelling in circles, the men split up, with Whispering Smith and Wickwire to track down the trail believed to be Sinclair’s, and Kennedy and Scott following the other two. Whispering Smith stops by Dicksie’s ranch where he eats and tells Dicksie that Sinclair is trying to get the money from the Tower W robbery.
Chapter Forty-Four: Crawling Stone Wash
The four men take up a trail that leads through the dangerous Crawling Stone Wash. Whispering Smith is riding within the wash, and Wickwire is riding in the banks above it; Kennedy and Scott are riding on the other banks farther back. Whispering Smith and Wickwire discover the three outlaws and start a shootout. Smith starts shooting and kills Seagrue, while from behind, Wickwire shoots at Rebstock and Sinclair. Rebstock surrenders, and Wickwire’s very first shot nails Sinclair between the temples.
Chapter Forty-Five: Back to the Mountains
In the year that has passed since the death of Sinclair, Dicksie and McCloud get married, a train travels from Crawling Stone Valley, and no one has heard a word from Whispering Smith. When McCloud gets back from a business trip, he tells Dicksie and Marion that Whispering Smith is in a hospital suffering from typhoid fever. Marion, Dicksie, McCloud, and Bucks travel by train to bring Whispering Smith back to Medicine Bend. When Whispering Smith and Marion finally reunite, he tells her that he loves her for the first time.