Monte Walsh has never met a horse he couldn't ride, and Chet Rollins has never met one he couldn't rope. For a decade they are unbeatable and inseparable, working as trail hands throughout the West until finally settling with Cal Brennan's Slash Y. Their rough cowboy ethics see them through every imaginable challenge: blizzards, rustlers, outlaws, and card games gone wrong. Partial to pretty women, gambling, and practical jokes, Monte is often on the receiving end of trouble, while Chet is always there to break him out of jail or serve as a decoy until Monte can get out of town in a hurry. As the West begins to change, however--the automobile replacing the horse, the herds breaking up--the two friends part ways. Chet marries and goes on to become a successful merchant, banker, and politician; but Monte, unable to imagine anything but the cowboy's way of life, refuses to the end to leave the range.